NHS England is encouraging stakeholders to give their views on the future of specialised health services and how these should be provided by the NHS over the next five years, by inviting patients, commissioners, clinicians and others to an event in December as part of its wider ‘Call to Action’ project. This signals the start of an open debate with the public about the future delivery of NHS services.

Specialised services, commissioned nationally through 10 of NHS England’s 27 area teams, are those services which are provided from relatively few specialist centres for long-term conditions (eg: mental health care in secure settings and neonatal services) and rare conditions (eg: uncommon cancers, burn care, medical genetics, specialised pediatric services and cardiac surgery). They account for approximately £11.8 billion of annual spending - around 10 per cent of the overall NHS budget.

Feedback from the December scoping event, which is being delivered in partnership with the Specialised Healthcare Alliance, will inform the development of a five year strategy outlining how the increasing demand for specialised services can best be satisfied, to improve patient experience and outcomes, in a strained economic climate.