DDN February 2018

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‘Service users must stay at the
heart of commissioning’

Disinvestment and the fragmentation of services continue to dominate dialogue and debate. Yet according to Collective Voice, (page 7), we have the best opportunity in a decade to address complex problems faced by service users and their communities. The newly formed Faculty of Commissioning is on a similar wavelength (page 10) in identifying the challenges to be tackled, and they reiterate the call for better integration with mental health and housing services.

We are clear that commissioning needs an overhaul, a situation underlined by the ACMD Recovery Committee. On page 14 we look at why service user involvement must stay at the heart of this process. Tim Sampey’s comments are a reminder that there are many vibrant peer-led initiatives around the country that are leant on when needed for ‘service user involvement’ in strategy papers, but which should be written into tender documents as a core part of services. We’re looking forward to seeing many of these groups in action at our DDN Conference on 22 February.

The other important element of the consultations is to not forget the evidence that should inform them – such as when discussing a new alcohol strategy. As Dr Richard Piper reminds us (page 13), there is a large pool of evidence on which to draw in modernising the 2012 strategy. Consultations focus the mind, but we must remember to stay open to innovation. The growth of partnerships such as the alliance of NHS Trusts (page 12) offer new momentum in tackling old problems.

Claire Browneditor

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