In 2015, NHS England identified a £30m black hole in the finances of the health service’s annual budget within the next five years. At the time the Government pledged an extra £8bn in funding, but left the NHS with the task of making up the remaining shortfall via efficiency savings.
But with the Conservative Party having pledged “no more top-down reorganisation” of the NHS, it had to find a way of allowing NHS providers to lead that change. As part of this, NHS England has been pump-priming a variety of new care models with bits of funding and management support via the ‘vanguard’ programme.
Vanguards include new models of primary care, such as the multispecialty community care providers (MCPs) and primary and acute care systems (PACS), as well as the Care Homes vanguards – based on the premise that greater collaboration will drive efficiencies.
NHS England announced the first 13 ACC vanguards in September 2015, chosen for being “some of the best-known and best-run hospitals in Britain”, and tasked with “driving efficiency and improvement across the country”.
NHS England said the programme would see NHS trusts “take the lead on developing ways they can work together to improve clinical and financial viability, to find solutions to shared challenges”.
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