Community Services Operating Model Guidance


Improving how we deliver community based services is essential to achieve the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, in particular for improving response times, quality of care and the productivity of the workforce.

Lord Carter’s 2018 review of community and mental health services highlighted that despite the importance of these services in keeping people safe and well at home, services do not always support staff to care for patients in the best way.

This resource describes the non-clinical processes that underpin services in the community, in a non-bed based setting. This should be used by chief operating officers and service leads, alongside Model Hospital measures, to identify improvement opportunities.

This is split into four short sections:

  1. Referrals and single points of access 
  2. Caseloads and patient flow (resources coming soon)
  3. Mobile working (resources coming soon)
  4. Community delivery methods (resources coming soon)

These chapters are supported by a number of case studies and external resources. 

This resource has been produced with the help of a reference group made up of members from community, mental health and acute providers, and a number of other national bodies. We would like to thank all those involved for their input throughout this process.

We will be continuing to add to this material throughout 2019, and adapting this resource to reflect the evolving health and care landscape. We’d love to know what you think. Please contact us at with any questions, comments and feedback.

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