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Posted on Tuesday 10th March 2015

The leaders of the NHS in England have today (Tuesday 10 March) announced that Better Care Together has been chosen to take a national lead on transforming care for patients.

Better Care Together has been chosen from a total of 269 bids from across the country who put forward their ideas for how they want to redesign care in their areas, as one of the first 29 of the most innovative plans.

Drawing on a new £200 million transformation fund and tailored national support, from April the vanguards will develop local health and care services to keep people well, and bring home care, mental health and community nursing, GP services and hospitals together for the first time since 1948.

For patients, this will lead to a significant improvement in their experience of health services. It is estimated more than five million patients will benefit across the country, just from this first wave, locally in Morecambe Bay this means approximately 365,000 people.

For example, this could mean: 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.

For example people should have greater access to primary care services, at times to suit them, as the Better Care Together programme develop more services and capacity in a setting closer to home.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “The NHS now 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. 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.”

Andrew Bennett, Chief Officer for Lancashire North CCG said, “This gives the Better Care Together programme the ideal opportunity to put into place a number of the exciting proposals we have outlined in our Strategy and enables Morecambe Bay to start to put into practice our vision for a health system that breaks down organisational barriers.”

Dr Hugh Reeve, Clinical Chair for Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group said, “As a GP this is exactly what I want to see: care that is tailored to each patient from a joined up team of GPs, hospital staff, mental health colleagues and our social care partners. It means we can develop and grow our capacity in general practice and other community services”.

Aaron Cummins, Deputy Chief Executive of University of Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is fantastic news for both patients and staff. Being chosen as a Vanguard means we can take forward the improvements planned in Better Care Together further and faster with the support that this secures. It’s a really important step forward in realising the ambitious plans we and our health and social care partners have for modern, efficient and accessible health services across the Morecambe Bay area.”

The vanguards will take the national lead on the development of game-changing care models:

 multispecialty community providers (MCPs) – moving specialist care out of hospitals into the community;

 integrated primary and acute care systems (PACS) – joining up GP, hospital, community and mental health services, and;

 models of enhanced health in care homes – offering older people better, joined up health, care and rehabilitation services.

From April 2015, the national NHS will work with local vanguard sites to develop dedicated support packages to enable and accelerate change, and an intensive evaluation programme will seek evidence on what works so that this can be spread to other parts of the country.

Support will be tailored to the needs of each area, but could be a combination of peer learning and expertise in areas such as patient empowerment and community engagement, leadership, clinical workforce redesign, using digital technology to redesign care, devising new legal forms and new contractual models; and joined up procurement. 

All areas will benefit from a wider support and learning package which will be rolled out later this year, based on the learning from the vanguard sites. Additionally, as a result of the many examples of excellent models up and down the country, a wider programme of support is being put in place for some of the health and social care systems that applied to be part of the programme. This is being supported by the Kings Fund.

The NHS Five Year Forward View, published in October 2014 by NHS England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission, Public Health England and Health Education England, set out the health, quality of care, and funding gaps that will open up if the NHS does not change. 


In January the NHS invited individual organisations and partnerships, including those with the voluntary sector to apply to be ‘vanguard’ sites.  Applications asked for expressions of interest in four models of care that will reduce demand, improve productivity and breakdown structural barriers.

Support will be tailored to the needs of each area but could be a combination of peer learning and expertise in areas such as:

 patient empowerment and community engagement;

 clinical workforce redesign;

 using digital technology to redesign care;

 optimal use of health and care infrastructure;

 creating joined-up information systems;

 devising new legal forms and new contractual models; and

 integrated commissioning across CCGs, NHS England and local authority and procurement.

Posted on Tuesday 10th March 2015


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