2018 Community Services Project – Results published

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The Network welcomes the publication of the 2018 Community Services project report and toolkit, presenting the results of this year’s benchmarking project.

Open to all providers of NHS community services, the project takes a view across all aspects of service provision covering 26 different community services.

The Community Services benchmarking project has been a core part of the Network work programme for many years and provides the most comprehensive dataset available in the NHS on Community Services. This is the fifth year that participants have received bespoke dashboard reports, to supplement the online benchmarking toolkit.

The services’ performance can be compared on the full range of metrics on access, activity, workforce, finance and quality metrics using the online benchmarking toolkit accessible via the members’ area of the Network website.

In total, 134 submissions were received from 71 community services providers for this year’s benchmarking programme.

Highlights for 2018 include:

  • Both adult and children’s services report no significant shift in investment across the past five years, despite the national policy focus towards out of hospital care.

  • Investment and staffing levels in District Nursing services, the highest volume community service, continue to show a downward trend. Staffing levels are reported around 10% lower in 2018 than in 2013 in England.

  • Average waiting times for children’s services are increasing and continue to be longer than for adult services, with average waiting times of up to 85 days from referral to first appointment.

  • Vacancy rates and staff turnover rates have risen across most services between 2017 and 2018. Adult services typically show higher vacancy and staff turnover rates than children’s services.

  • Although District Nursing is generally a seven day service, staffing levels during the weekend are about one third of that during the week. Many other services report little or no coverage at the weekend.

  • Only 28% of community providers are currently operating as part of an integrated care system. Although there is a move towards more integrated working, half of respondents reported they currently have no plans to work as part of an integrated care system.

  • Community Integrated Care Teams continue to provide a variety of functions including non-medical prescribing, safeguarding, end of life care and wound care. The CICT workforce is made up of predominantly nursing staff with some therapy input.

Finally, a Compendium of Good Practice from the Community Services benchmarking project is also available to view on the members' area.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, please contact Joylin Brockett, to request access to the members’ area, or find out more about Network membership, please contact enquiries@nhsbenchmarking.nhs.uk.