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Integrated care systems take place in NHS vanguards



New care pilots include programmes to bring together information from primary and acute care systems

Integrated primary and acute care systems (PACS) have been earmarked as one of the key features on a number of 'vanguard' sites to develop new forms of healthcare.

NHS England identified PACS as one of three "game changing" care models to be implemented among 29 vanguard sites, drawing on a £200 million transformation fund beginning in April. They will aim to bring home care, mental health and community nursing, GP services and hospitals closer together.

Its announcement said the PACS will join up GP, hospital, community and mental health services.

This will have implications for the use of data from the different sources, as is made clear in the recording of a presentation from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, one of those chosen as a vanguard.

Its representatives says it aims to identify and manage health issues in real time, and that this will involve overlaying its Population Health platform on existing patient record systems. Bringing the data into a single source should make it easier to track and manage cohorts of patients, spot any "care gaps" and be more proactive in filling them.

It should also be a source of common evidence that is presented in a consistent way for different groups of care providers.

Key features

The other key features in the vanguards are the use of multispecialty community providers to move specialist care out of hospitals into communities, and enhanced health in care homes, which involves joined up healthcare and rehabilitation services.

Beginning in April, the national NHS will work with local vanguard sites to develop dedicated support packages and produce an evaluation programme. Support will be tailored to each area but there are plans to spread what works to other parts of the country.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "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."

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