‘Blueprints for the NHS moving forward.’ That’s how NHS England describes the Vanguard sites that aim to improve the care of millions across England. Through the New Care Models programme, complete redesign of whole health and care systems are being considered. This means, for instance, fewer trips to hospitals with cancer and dementia specialists holding clinics in local surgeries, having one point of call for family doctors, community nurses, social and mental health services, or access to blood tests, dialysis or even chemotherapy closer to home.
But how is this sizing up? Over the last two years we’ve evaluated seven NHS Vanguard projects across the range of models. As the programme moves into a new phase of trying to scale and replicate successes, have the Vanguards succeeded in demonstrating better ways of working? Here are our top five lessons from the Vanguards we’ve supported.