Specialised services

We are working with NHS England and our NHS partners in south west London to support a review of specialised services across the whole of south London.

Specialised services are provided in a small number of hospitals and are used by relatively small numbers of patients. They cover more than 170 services, including things like paediatrics, neuroscience, cardiac, HIV and renal. They tend to be provided in large hospitals by teams of highly trained, experienced staff and are often associated with academic research and innovation.

Most specialised care across south London is carried out at three NHS trusts, which are the focus of this review:

  • Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Some of these specialised services are considered among the best in the country. However, there are areas of duplication between our trusts and opportunities exist to improve the quality and consistency of care.

The NHS spends around £1.3bn on specialised services each year in south London. Around a third of patients come into these services from outside the area, including places such as Kent, Medway, Surrey and Sussex. Referrals from this wider region are currently growing faster than local referrals.

The scale of specialised services in south London has a direct impact on the overall financial sustainability and quality of services in our NHS trusts.

Our aims

The objectives of the review are to make sure that specialised services in south London:

  • deliver the best quality care – either maintaining standards where they are already high, or improving to meet national expectations where they fall below these
  • offer people timely access to care – ensuring that waiting lists are not excessive and that demand is matched with supply to improve the patient experience and minimise the risk of harm
  • are efficient and effective in the way they are provided – making sure that services offer the best value for money and are afford for years to come
  • are sustainable – with the right mix of clinicians and support staff offering high quality care from the most appropriate locations.

We also want to:

  • focus on prevention and support for people closer to home, to help keep everyone healthier and reduce the need for hospital-based specialised services
  • ensure that physical and mental health is integrated at the heart of our specialised services
  • build on our understanding of where patients come from and the links between specialised and other NHS services to improve quality, safety and cost effectiveness

This review could lead to some changes in service delivery so we will work closely with patients, service users and a wide range of other stakeholders to develop our proposals and determine how to deliver the best outcomes, experience and value to meet the needs of our patients.

Find out more about the NHS England work on specialised services here.