Shaping the market and creating debate

As the health sector underwent its biggest structural reshuffle in its 65-year history, ZPB was commissioned by one of the world’s largest facilities companies to help position them in the UK healthcare market, and to stimulate new thinking about the best ways of creating more productive relationships across the private and public sector.

Taking this brief, ZPB worked with a panel of industry leaders to write, edit and produce guidance for better working between the NHS, private and voluntary sectors. We first set about gathering evidence to test the hypothesis that partnerships between the NHS and the private and voluntary sectors will improve patient outcomes. The research phase included three distinct channels:

  • A structured quantitative survey to gauge the opinions of senior NHS leaders and their private sector counterparts.
  • In depth qualitative analysis through a series of regional consultation events and follow-up meetings at NHS trusts. This was based on a structured discussion guide through which we tested assumptions and key aspects of the hypothesis.
  • Three meetings of the reference panel, which consisted of senior leaders from all sectors, and whose views and experience were a crucial part of developing the proposition and building the case for change.

The ZPB team analysed and collated all this evidence into the Partnerships for healthy outcomes report, which was launched in central London at a packed launch event in the House of Lords, and sent to every NHS Trust, Clinical Commissioning Group, arms length body, and major health charity in the country. The report was reviewed by the Cabinet Office and has received recognition from NHS Trust Boards, the Department of Health and the NHS Confederation.

The reference group reconvened the following year, to review latest evidence and produce a second edition, The power of partnership: how to seize the potential. The client who commissioned the report is often called upon as a subject matter expert and has subsequently been invited to speak on several European stages about successful public/private sector collaboration.

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