Frequently asked questions

These frequently asked questions have been created to provide more information and answer any questions you may have about the Lancashire and South Cumbria Provider Collaborative.

Yes. The trusts will remain as statutory bodies, and each chair and chief executive will still be accountable for their own separate organisations.

The term ‘Provider Collaborative’ is consistent with national terminology outlined in NHS England’s guidance. At the moment the Provider Collaboration Board includes the five NHS trusts in Lancashire and South Cumbria, but our future ambition is to create a wider collaborative with other providers.

We use ‘network’ to describe the way a clinical service works in a joined-up way across multiple NHS trusts.

We use ‘collaborative’ to describe our collective approach to working together across the five trusts to achieve our aims. We use ‘network’ to describe the way a clinical service works in a joined-up way across multiple trusts. Often a clinical network will have one clinical lead who oversees the whole service.

Clinical networks are being created to ensure we are working effectively together and that our patients are receiving the highest quality care across the system.

We want to make sure services are as close to people’s homes as possible. However, to get the best outcomes, some specialised services may need to be delivered over a bigger geographical footprint, where it is clinically appropriate to do so. Pooling resources to better support fragile services, for example, means they will be more reliable and get consistently better outcomes for patients. (Fragile services are those at risk of being unsustainable because of lack of staff or other resources. People in L&SC should be able to access the same high-quality care no matter where they live.

There may be some aspects of corporate services we are able to deliver ‘once’ to reduce duplication. For example, by having the same HR policies and staff benefits across all trusts we will reduce duplication of effort and ensure our colleagues have the same high-quality employment experience.

Our ambition is to move as much care as close to home for patients as we possibly can and ensure our highly specialist services are delivered as effectively as possible.

We are working to ensure that each of our localities (places) has a comprehensive range of services within hospitals and across the community.

There are some more specialist services where individuals may need to travel for treatment – there is clear evidence that people needing complex procedures have better outcomes if they are treated in centres where those procedures are being done frequently. However, we want as much of their care, such as investigations, to take place as close to home as possible.


We would make sure that wherever possible patients are not having to travel further, but when we do, it is because we believe the outcomes would be the better.

We are also making increased use of technology where appropriate, to avoid people having to travel unnecessarily.

Some of our specialist services in some of our hospitals are fragile – they do not have the staff or resources to maintain a consistent level of service. Some may even be in danger of closure. Some of these services are also of variable quality; patient experience and outcomes may not be of the standard we would wish them to be.

Pooling resources, for example – to better support fragile services at risk of being unsustainable because of lack of staff or other resources, means they would be more reliable and get consistently better outcomes for patients. For some services, the service may only be sustainable or be of the right quality for patients, by creating a centre of excellence. People in Lancashire and South Cumbria should be able to access the same high-quality care no matter where they live.

For some planned procedures we are looking to pool our waiting lists and ensure that there is not a discrepancy across our hospitals in terms of waiting times. That may result in patients being offered treatment at places other than their nearest hospital in order to get them seen more quickly. It may also be appropriate, in certain circumstances, for staff to move to work in other hospitals to ensure we are working as efficiently as we can.

Yes, mental health is a priority for both the provider collaboration and the Integrated Care Board. The Provider Collaboration Board has established a work programme and clinical working group specifically focused on integrating mental and physical health.

We know that we have significant health inequalities across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

As a provider collaborative our ambition is to support a reduction in health inequalities. We are already doing some work on our elective (planned care) recovery and waiting lists at system (Lancashire and South Cumbria wide) rather than individual hospital level, and we have also launched a mental health and physical health integration programme to improve access to mental health services.

By working together we plan to:

  • Improve health outcomes, reduce variation and support the reduction in health inequalities by ensuring everyone has access to the same high-quality care as close to home as possible.
  • Use the data and information we have on health inequalities to improve access, and work with place-based partnerships to ensure local services are adapted for local need, where required.
  • Be in a better position as a collaborative of anchor institutions to add social value. This includes, wherever possible, supporting local jobs, sourcing local goods and services, and working together to reduce our environmental impact.

In addition, as local NHS bodies we are part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health Equity Commission, which was established in 2021 to improve health inequalities. Several recommendations will come from this work which we will take forward. More information is here: Lancashire and South Cumbria Health Equity Commission (HEC)

As NHS bodies we do not have all the answers, so working in partnership is fundamental to making positive change, including in local communities where there is a more accurate understanding of what needs doing.

Commissioners, working in partnership with service providers and patients, have responsibility for planning and purchasing health services. This responsibility sits with NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (opens in new window).

The triple aim – which highlights better health, better care and financial sustainability – does not not explicitly recognise the critical role of the workforce in healthcare transformation. The quadruple aim adds an extra goal to acknowledge the importance of ensuring we have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills, in the right place.

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