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NEWS STORY

Petra Westlake

BLOG: Vanguards radically reinventing the NHS

26/10/2015

The NHS Five Year Forward View was published one year ago setting out a vision for how the NHS will evolve to solve the challenges it faces.

As part of this selection of the NHS Vanguards, who will be responsible for radical innovation and change, is well underway.

I have been following the vanguard developments closely. Having worked in the healthcare industry for 14 years, using my knowledge of NHS policy, guidance, health data and service planning with the aim of achieving key NHS objectives I can see that the vanguards are a crucial catalyst for improving the service models in the NHS.

Initially more than 200 local health and social care economies put themselves forward to become vanguard localities as the first to move these new models forward.

There were 63 nominated for the next part of the selection process and in the first week of March they presented not only to each other but to a range of interested parties. I was an observer for these three days and found the experience extraordinary.

Each of the 63 seven-minute presentations was full of enthusiasm and radical approaches to change. And while many of them had encountered barriers in terms of funding flows, contractual forms or regulation, they were all determined to get around, or go over or under, these barriers.

For three days it appeared that the entire NHS and social care system had become determined to radically re-invent itself.

Strong partnerships essential for new models

Each of the localities, whether they were led by their local trusts, their CCG, GP providers or local authorities, had developed a strong partnership across the NHS and local authority to develop a new model of care.

It was clear that all of these new models can only work if the organisations involved develop new and strong relationships beyond their own boundaries. That is, if they learn to trust others as much as they trust themselves.

A week later, on 10 March, the first 29 front runners were announced, nine of which will develop a new model of care which will vertically integrate GP and acute care services into one organisation. A further 14 will develop very different multi-specialty community providers and there are six developing a new approach to healthcare in nursing homes.

Between them, this latter group had already developed a new system of ensuring that nursing homes were better equipped to deal with emergencies rather than simply rely upon emergency beds in hospital.

Many GP commissioners are already involved in this process. If you are not, then my strong advice would be to find your local vanguard and start learning.

The vanguard sites continue to be rolled out apace. In July, eight urgent and emergency vanguards were announced, and most recently 13 new vanguards known as acute care collaborations were introduced. This is an exciting time and we will be checking back in regularly to monitor their progress.

This is just one in series of blogs written by Petra Westlake at NHiS. To view more, visit www.nhis.com/editorial/vanguards-of-the-nhs


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