Vanguard sites to test innovative health and social care models

10 Mar 15

NHS England has selected 29 vanguard sites to test out some ‘radical’ models of health and social care integration across the country.

Sites in Greater Manchester, Newcastle, Somerset and Kent are among areas that will take a share of the £200m vanguard fund, NHS England announced.

From April, the areas will start developing their local health and care services, bringing together home care, mental health, community nursing, GP services and hospitals together for the first time since 1948.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the NHS had set out its long-term plan, backed by ‘just about everybody, and today we’re firing the starting gun’.

‘Instead of the usual top-down administrative tinkering, we’re backing radical care redesign by frontline nurses, doctors and other staff – in partnership with their patients and local communities,’ Stevens said.

‘From Wakefield to Whitstable, and Yeovil to Harrogate, we’re going to see distinctive solutions to shared challenges, which the whole of the NHS will be able to learn from.’

NHS England said the new models would lead to a ‘significant improvement’ for patients in their experience of health services.

Changes could result in: fewer trips to hospitals as cancer and dementia specialists and GPs work in new teams; a single point of access for family doctors, community nurses, social and mental health services; and access to tests, dialysis or chemotherapy much closer to home.

It is estimated that more than five million patients will be affected by the changes in this first wave of test sites.

There was a welcome from the NHS Confederation, which said better working between health and social care was ‘essential’ for the future of the NHS.

Chief executive Rob Webster said: ‘It is pleasing that clinicians and local leaders have been able to put forward plans for redesigning services in their areas. What works best for patients is care designed by frontline clinicians who are delivering services.

‘It is vital that the new models of care being supported here are properly assessed and evaluated, to test their effectiveness. Lessons from these 29 vanguard sites must be shared across health and social care. The fact that more than 260 groups put forward proposals shows the enthusiasm among clinicians to improve services, and we must not lose this momentum.’

The Health Foundation also welcomed the initiative that sought to improve health care at an accelerated pace.

‘Change is urgently needed across all parts of the NHS,’ policy director Richard Taunt said.

‘Success for the vanguards will not just be whether they can improve patient care in their area, but how they can lead change which can then be adapted and replicated across the country.’

A full list of the 29 vanguard sites can be viewed here

  • Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith Ugwumadu joined Public Finance International and Public Finance online as a reporter after stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express. Currently, she writes about public finance, public services and economics.

    Follow her on @JudithUgwumadu_

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