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An alliance partnership comprising the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, GP Primary Choice, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and Virgin, has been awarded one of England’s largest current healthcare contracts that will see patients across Colchester and Tendring having access to greater person-centred, coordinated care and support in the future.

The North East Essex Integrated Community Services (NICS) will be responsible for providing services such as community nursing and intermediate care, stroke rehabilitation and community beds from July 2021.

The decision to award the 10-year contract worth £440m follows dialogue, a joint bid received from the alliance partners, and subsequent detailed evaluation.

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Services were previously provided through the Care Closer to Home contract that was delivered by Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE).

According to North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), this new multi-million-pound contract will drive a much greater emphasis on integration with a broad range of private and voluntary sector organisations, charities as well as local authority and health sectors working together.

Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of the NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which awarded the contact, said: “The selection of the partnership has been a very rigorous and thorough process.  The organisations demonstrated a strong commitment to quality, service delivery and learning from patients’ experience.  They have been working together for some time as part of our alliance, and so have a strong relationship to build upon and a good understanding of the local population.”

In addition to the four main providers, there are a number of associates (for example local authorities and voluntary groups) who will be partly responsible for ensuring the services link effectively with the communities they serve.

Ed added: “One of the important areas from public feedback was the need for our services to be more joined up.  The approach that the alliance will take is in line with our broader strategy of integrated care which seeks to reduce duplication by bringing together health and care professionals in locally-based community teams and form closer service links with our magnificent voluntary sector.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank ACE who have been providing services across Colchester and Tendring through the previous contract.  We will work with them on a smooth transition.  We are looking forward to working with the alliance to ensure these services are up and running by July 2021.”

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