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Tagged In:  NHS, Nursing

The NHS England new care models programme is now in its third year of operation. We take a look at some of the success stories from the care vanguards.




The new care models programme is fundamental to the vision for the future of the NHS.  A key driver in implementing the NHS Five Year Forward View, it's about developing a blueprint for how and where care will be delivered. Crucially, that blueprint is being designed in close consultation with those who know best: the doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and social care practitioners who work on the front line.

At the heart of the new care models programme are the 50 vanguards, which are taking a lead locally to develop strategies that can be rolled out nationally. Here are just some of the many groundbreaking initiatives that have been introduced across the country so far:

Integrated care on the Isle of Wight


Even before Isle of Wight NHS Trust became a vanguard, the island had the only combined hospital, ambulance, community and mental health services in England. However, it was severe winter weather and unprecedented pressure on ambulance services that spurred them to take things to the next level. They created the UK's first fully integrated care hub.

"We realised that many of the ambulance calls were really more appropriate for social care, mental health, community nursing or GPs," explained Chris Smith, Clinical Director of Ambulance, Urgent Care and Community Services. "So we went ahead to develop the integrated hub, with 'care navigators' to support and coordinate individual care."

The hub brings together the ambulance service, the team of district nurses, psychiatrists and mental health nurses, social services, Age UK, crisis response, pharmacists, transport, switchboard and the council-run pendant alarm service.

Better health in care homes


Connecting Care - Wakefield District is one of six vanguards focusing on enhancing the health and wellbeing of care home residents. One of the vanguard's key innovations has been the introduction of a dedicated multi-disciplinary team, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They get to know the residents and, where necessary, refer them to other health professionals, such as dietitians.

Sutton Homes of Care vanguard is also capitalising on the skills and expertise of allied health professionals to improve the health of people in residential care. They've put together a team of AHPs, including physiotherapists, pharmacists and dietitians, to provide training and support to care home staff.

Connecting consultants and GPs


Responding to feedback from primary care doctors, Stockport Together vanguard introduced a service which has greatly improved access to same-day, real-time specialist advice and guidance from hospital consultants. Consultant Connect features a single telephone number which connects to a rota of consultants. In one month alone, the system prevented hospital referrals in 70% of recorded cases for haematology and endocrinology.

Joined-up thinking in Northumberland


Northumberland already has a relatively well-integrated health and social care system thanks to long-standing relationships between the NHS and the council. The vanguard has introduced pharmacists to the existing multi-disciplinary teams and is now working on a range of other initiatives, including better support for patients with long-term conditions and bringing GP practices into networks to improve community care.

The vanguards are leading the way. But how will their successes be replicated in the wider NHS? Samantha Jones, NHS England's Director for New Models of Care, believes that the roll-out must be driven by the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), which bring together the NHS and local councils in 44 areas covering the whole of England. 

"The challenge to spread learning outside of the vanguards is one of the biggest, and its success will lie with STPs," she wrote on the NHS Confederation website in February. “Making widespread improvements for patients, communities, and our health and care providers, will require wide and ongoing sharing, coaching, peer-to-peer communication, and strategic leadership across the system.”

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