latest health care news

24.07.15

NHS to combine emergency services – urgent care Vanguards announced

NHS England has announced today (24 July) eight new ‘Vanguard’ areas to transform emergency care services by bringing together A&E, GPs, pharmacists, and the NHS 111 telephone service in an effort to provide better integrated urgent care for patients.

Emergency care will extend beyond just hospitals to be delivered by out-of-hours GPs, minor injuries clinics, pharmacists, community teams, ambulance services, NHS 111, and social carers, as well as through educating and supporting patients on effective self-care. It will be delivered seven days a week to facilitate access to urgent help.

The second aim is to tackle the barriers between physical and mental health.

Changes, targeted at a local level, will be propelled by a ‘transformation fund’ of £200m.

NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, said: “We’re backing our frontline nurses, doctors and other staff, in partnership with local communities, to radically redesign our urgent and emergency services.”

Six of the appointed Vanguards will cover small local systems including both hospitals and surrounding GP practices and social care. Two network Vanguards will work with larger groups to integrate care on a wider scale.

Plans will mimic those in north-east England to implement joint-up regional services to ensure patients living in remote rural locations have access to the same quality of care, including a ‘rapid specialist opinion’ upon request.

Other major changes include mobile treatment services in the West Yorkshire network that will work with mental health providers and the police to develop rapid crisis response and street triage services.

Areas like Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland will tackle same-day response teams with GPs, acute home-visit professionals, crisis response services, community nursing, an older people’s assessment unit and a new urgent care centre.

The plans, part of the NHS Five Year Forward View, have been instated six months after the NHS reported missing its four-hour A&E waiting time target, with performance dropping to its lowest level since the target was introduced a decade ago.

Professor Keith Willet, NHS England’s director of acute care who is leading the urgent and emergency care transformation, said: “All over the country there are pockets of best practice yielding enormous benefits, but to ensure our urgent care services are sustainable for the future, every region must begin delivering faster, better and safer care.

“Now it is time for the new urgent and emergency care vanguards to design the best solutions locally.”

The NHS hopes this move will build on the recent success of improved trauma services after Regional Major Trauma Networks saw a 50% increase in the chances of survival for trauma patients within just three years of its launch.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly atopinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Top image c.  Rui Vieira, PA Wire

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