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Leading change for NHS patients and staff

Tagged In:  Allied Health, NHS

Launched just over two years ago, the NHS care model vanguards have already made big strides forward in transforming healthcare.

In a previous blog post we discussed the establishment of care model vanguards and how they fit in with the NHS Five Year Forward View. With over £100 million of new funding to support the vanguards announced by NHS England in December, we examine how successful they’ve been to date.

There are now 50 vanguards, covering areas across England from South Devon to Northumbria. They are tasked with taking a lead in the development of new care models and driving transformation in the rest of the health and care system. The aim is simple: fewer trips to hospitals with more emphasis on localised care by family doctors, community nurses and allied health professionals.

The vanguards have worked closely with the People and Communities Board, patients, the voluntary sector and representatives of the wider health and care system to define six key principles underpinning their work: person-centred care; services created in partnership with citizens and communities; a focus on equality; supporting and involving carers; engaging with voluntary, community and social enterprise partners; and recognising volunteering and social action as key enablers.

A wide range of initiatives have already been inspired and enabled. For example, Better Care Together (Morecambe Bay Health Community) has launched the Let's Get Moving scheme, aimed at getting young people to exercise regularly. At South Somerset's Symphony Integrated Healthcare an enhanced primary care model involves 'health coaches' working alongside GPs to support people with long-term conditions. Fylde Coast Local Health Economy Vanguard's 'extensive care service' has created multi-disciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and care co-ordinators to streamline healthcare services. And in mid-Nottinghamshire eight community teams are working with patients, their families and carers to provide physical, mental and social care support at home.

"The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff," said Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme. "2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services."

There has also been praise and optimism for them from Don Berwick, a highly-respected US healthcare innovator and International Visiting Fellow with The King's Fund. "The new care models programme is a big bet that active, positively toned support and some running room for pioneering collaborations can generate new ideas, prove their worth locally, spread effectively among network members, and in a timely way offer pathways to better care, better health, and more sustainable costs through the NHS," he wrote on the King's Fund blog. "Time will tell, but from what I can see, the game has begun well."

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