NHS England integrated care pilots launched

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A series of pilots aiming to provide more joined-up care have been launched which aim to bring together hospitals, GPs, community services and care homes.

NHS England this week announced the 29 partnerships involved as part of the drive to integrate care. The pilot is intended to play a key part in putting the NHS Five Year Forward View into action. This first wave of partnerships, referred to as the ‘vanguard geographies’, were chosen from more than 200 applications that were submitted to NHS England proposing to redesign care in their areas and create ways to integrate services and break down structural boundaries. The approaches vary, but could lead to more services being available at GP practices rather than in hospitals and more NHS care provided in care homes. It is hoped that eventually people will see the benefits in these pilots such as fewer trips to hospital due to more services being available in the community, single points of contact and access to blood tests, dialysis and chemotherapy closer to home.

NHS England is suggesting that these 29 projects mark a new dawn for how services are organised in the health service.

NHS England boss Mr Simon Stevens said “The NHS has its own 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.”

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, said “Many of the 29 areas chosen are well known within the NHS or containing organisations already at the cutting edge of health and social care. In that sense, there are no real surprises. There are organisations that have a head start in developing new approaches to better meet the needs of their local communities. The real test for this project, therefore, is how it is spread more widely to areas where such pioneering practice does exist.”

David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC welcomed the announcement stating “Health and adult social care should be designed around a person’s individual needs and not focused on organisational structures, as these do not represent the reality of experience. As the regulator for health and adult social care, we support this vision for improvement…..By the end of 2015, we will have inspected the majority of health and adult social care services in some areas. This will put us in a unique position in understanding not only how care is being delivered in different locations, but also in being able to use that information to create a picture of how well the health and social care system is working as a whole for people in different parts of the country. This information will be key to supporting the vanguard sites as they develop their models to assure high-quality care and encourage collaboration.”

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