Thinking Differently Together: Local Anchor Institutions

Stakeholders from across Suffolk and North East Essex integrated care system (ICS) recently came together to discuss a variety of perspectives on what being an ‘anchor institution’ means in practice.

This update was originally published on NHS Networks, you can read the full report here

The size and scale of health and care organisations and collaborations means they can positively influence the health and wellbeing of communities in many ways beyond providing health and care services.

With the impact of COVID-19 becoming increasingly apparent for communities across Suffolk and North East Essex, this gave leaders from across the region's Integrated Care System the opportunity to come together, to reinforce the Anchors Charter that the ICS Board agreed earlier this year, and to discuss the collective difference that we can make by purchasing more locally, widening access to quality work, using our buildings and spaces differently, reducing our environmental impact and working with local communities.

The event brought together over 80 local and national stakeholders to hear a wide range of perspectives on why it is so important that our anchor institutions support local people, businesses and economies, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we can do as a system to make progress.

NHS Property Services role in the ICS network

Paul Cross, Regional Partnership Director for the East at NHSPS, presented on the day. He explained how COVID-19 has forced us to think differently about how we can best use our NHS estate and partner network to repurpose space quickly and at the same time, make space more accessible for our communities, and in the process extract best value for the taxpayer.

The growing need for integrating health, social and community services and out of hospital closer to home services into new and existing estate, is placing additional importance on place based solutions, meaning location is becoming as important as condition and design.

This need can be categorised into five broad areas:

Tactical and strategic estates transformation

Considering where our estates are located, how we use them and how we will improve them to support the delivery of health and social care services. 

A collective ambition for health and social care

Thinking about how we can use our space now and in the future, with those who commission, manage and occupy the space working together to create the most effective NHS estate. 

Using our buildings and land for wider community benefit

Exploring how we can provide space in our planned health and community hubs for community groups, and - in the shorter-term - our social prescribing programme which is offering underused or vacant space to voluntary groups. 

Optimising access to capital funding

Considering how we can most strategically use our capital and bidding opportunities at a system level to support our ambitions. 

Learning from COVID-19 about collaboration as anchor institutions

Leveraging the new ways of working we've developed during the pandemic, becoming more collaborative and agile to build a strong and united NHS. 

Read the full report

Suffolk and North East Essex ICS have compiled a summary of each presentation from the day into a report.

Read the report