NHS England issues call for health integration pilot sites

22 May 15

NHS England is seeking bids from hospitals across England to undertake pilots on how to improve provision through the integration plans set out in its Five Year Forward View plan.

The FYFV, which last October called for an extra £8bn to be invested in NHS services to undertake reforms, raised the prospect of GP practices being allowed to join forces into single organisations, as well as more joint working across hospitals.

Hospitals are being asked to come forward with plans to test new models of care, including shared working arrangements between clinical specialists at different hospitals and back-office integration.

These ‘vanguard’ projects will be given financial and practical support to help them implement new care models, and will be backed by a £200m transformation fund.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said that, rather than assuming centralised services were better, ‘we want to test new ways of sustaining local NHS hospital services, with more sharing of medical expertise across sites, and more efficiency from shared back office administration’.

He added: ‘The main focus – led by Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority and NHS England – will be to support providers of acute services to develop new arrangements that can be replicated across England at scale and for the new models to improve quality, productivity and efficiency.’

Applicants for vanguard sites will be expected to demonstrate how their proposals will promote health and wellbeing, improve care quality and boost efficiency within available resources.

New models are expected to include greater use of clinical networks across nearby sites, joint ventures between NHS organisations, or the delivery of specialist single services across a number of different providers.

Samantha Jones, director of NHS England’s New Care Models programme, said the health service was ready to embark on developing new models of acute care collaboration.

‘The Five Year Forward View set out the need to do things differently across the NHS to continue to provide world-class care for patients in a clinically and financially sustainable way – pioneering new models of care is key to realising that ambition.’

Paul Dinkin, Monitor’s national lead for the new models of acute care collaboration, said the vanguard sites would be supported to ‘rethink their clinical models beyond existing organisational boundaries or their local health care system’.

He stated: ‘Ways of preserving local access to sustainable high quality services and reducing variations in the quality and cost of care may be through innovative forms of accountable clinical networks, creating chains of multiple NHS organisations, or setting up speciality NHS franchises.’

The closing date for applications is the end of July and the programme anticipates announcing a small number of vanguard sites by September.

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