The first wave of ‘game-changing’ care plans created by frontline healthcare professionals to radically redesign NHS services have been selected for testing and development.

NHS England says 29 pilot schemes, or ‘vanguards’, have been picked to 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. 

New models being tested include: multispecialty community providers (MCPs), which aim to move 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 enhanced health in care homes, to offer better, joined up health, care and rehabilitation services.

More than five million patients are estimated to benefit from the first wave, through fewer trips to hospitals as cancer and dementia specialists and GPs work in new teams, and access to tests, dialysis or chemotherapy much closer to home, for example.

“The NHS now has its own long-term plan, backed by just about everybody, and today we’re firing the starting gun,” said NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens. Sir Sam Everington, National GP Advisor, is “confident that the 29 exceptional systems which have been chosen to be vanguards in this cohort will help revolutionise both the quality of care, and patients’ experience of it”.

RCGP support

The Royal College of General Practitioners said it “strongly supports integrated services and the need for new models of patient care”, particularly the MCP model, which, it notes, “shares many characteristics of GP federations”. 

“We are pleased that the majority of ‘vanguard’ sites announced today will follow this model and it is important that these areas get the support,  both in terms of investment and practical help, they will need to transform care in their areas in the best interests of patient safety and care,” said its chair Maureen Baker.