Case Studies

Ensuring a mental health trust's future financial security

Added 11/12/2011


A mental health trust preparing to merge with a neighbouring organisation commissioned Sustain to carry out an independent review of its payment by results (PbR) programme to ensure it fitted with national timelines and would meet requirements after the merger. The trust also asked us to assess the resourcing implications of PbR for the local health economy.
In addition, we also completed a project on behalf of a commissioning PCT to review a provider’s PbR programme and make general recommendations for its ongoing development.

Key challenges
Keen to produce fast results, Sustain set itself a challenging target to complete the project within a few short weeks.

Main actions

To drive the reviews, Sustain arranged a series of on-site meetings with key staff held across two-and-a-half days. This work was supported by additional desktop reviews, while evidence was also gathered over the phone. By using our established Sustain Rapid Appraisal tool, we were able to gain a detailed understanding of the current position while making recommendations for the future success of the projects.

Outcomes and achievements
Within just 15 working days, we produced comprehensive reports tailored to the needs of each organisation. For the provider, the document detailed its position in comparison with the national picture and the expectations of its commissioning organisation. We also examined stakeholder perceptions and made recommendations for further work necessary to ensure the merger ran smoothly. With regards to tariff readiness, we were able to identify key areas where further planning and focus would be required while also flagging opportunities for joint IT development.

The report presented to the commissioning PCT looked in detail at new clinical procurement processes and a major pathway development project. In addition, we also made recommendations for closing gaps between the organisation’s aspirations and its current position so that it could continue working to improve services for patients.

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