Notable early successes as vanguards get serious about prevention

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A reduction in emergency admissions for the over-65s, fewer delayed transfers of care, and GPs able to dedicate more time to frail older patients are among some of the early achievements of pioneering prevention initiatives taking root across the country.

The successes, charted in a new report published on Tuesday (31 May), also include improved patient outcomes, increased job satisfaction for staff, and financial savings from better medicines management.

The accomplishments are the result  of new local approaches to preventing ill health and promoting wellbeing, detailed in New care models and prevention: an integral partnership.

Tackling the health and wellbeing gap

Published by the NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners, NHS Providers and the Local Government Association, the report spotlights five case studies on how vanguards have sought to address the health and wellbeing gap – and the impacts seen so far.

All Together Better Sunderland, for example, a multispecialty community provider (MCP), reports early signs of a reduction in emergency admissions for over-65s, a significant increase in referrals to its unique Recovery at Home service, and a fall in admissions to residential care.

Sutton Homes of Care, an enhanced health in care home vanguard, has seen a reduction in hospital length of stay by an average of three days. Staff also no longer default to sending residents to A&E, and fewer medications are wasted.

And West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing, also an MCP, has said that signposting to more appropriate services – through care navigation, Physio First, co-located pharmacists and social prescribing – has enabled GPs to dedicate more time to frail older patients or those with complex needs.

Common themes

With 69 per cent of Confederation members involved in some form of new care model, the publication helps cast a light on the themes emerging from new approaches to tackling prevention.

They include:
  • the importance of having a full understanding of the needs of local populations
  • the importance of working across organisational and professional boundaries
  • getting staff on board
  • tapping into the experience and skills of patients, carers, volunteers and third sector organisations. 
The featured case studies are:
  • All Together Better Sunderland (MCP)
  • West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing (MCP)
  • Sutton Homes of Care (an enhanced health in care homes vanguard)
  • Connecting Care – Wakefield District (an enhanced health in care homes vanguard)
  • Solihull Together for Better Lives (an urgent and emergency care vanguard).
The publication is the first in a series of two looking at developing new models of care. The second, due in June, will look at staff engagement and new models of care.

It forms part of a programme of work to spread the learning of the vanguard programme across the health and care sector. It is being jointly delivered by the NHS Confederation, NHs Clinical Commissioners, NHS Providers and the Local Government Association.

Discuss the issues

Leaders from across health and care will discuss the learning so far from new models of care at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference and exhibition next month. 

A new era of opportunity: What’s next for vanguard sites?, a session on 16 June, will feature national and international case studies and explore how lessons can be delivered locally to transform services. 

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