In January we were advised that the All Together Better vanguard had been awarded a further and final year of funding.

Launched in 2015, All Together Better Sunderland is one of 50 vanguard sites across the country.  Leading the way to test new ways of working, All Together Better is designed to improve care standards for local people in the city while using NHS services in a more cost effective and targeted way.  They are doing this by integrating health and social care staff, with third sector partners to deliver care to people in the community, keeping them as well as possible and out of hospital.

The work undertaken over the last two years in delivering All Together Better has shown the strength of the local commitment to working collaboratively, and realised benefits for the people of Sunderland that we work with through providing more streamlined and joined up services. Looking forwards, this integration of health and social care services is expected to continue and there is sign-up amongst partner organisations to explore the feasibility of forming a single multi-speciality community provider (MCP) in Sunderland.

In July 2016 NHS England published the MCP emerging care model and contract framework which defines what being a multispecialty community provider means.

In it there are three broad versions of an MCP:

  1. The ‘virtual’ MCP, under which individual providers and commissioning contracts are bound together by an ‘alliance’ agreement.
  2. The ‘partially integrated’ MCP contract, the scope of which excludes primary medical services, supported by contractual arrangements between the MCP and the GPs to achieve operational integration.
  3. The ‘fully integrated’ MCP contract model with a single whole-population budget across all primary medical and community based services.

It outlines that an MCP is about integration and involves redesigning care around the health of the population, irrespective of existing organisational arrangements.  The underlying logic is that by focusing on prevention and redesigning care, it is possible to improve health and wellbeing, achieve better quality, reduce avoidable hospital admissions and elective activity and unlock more efficient ways of delivering care.

Given the successes to date in establishing more effective joined-up care provision through the All Together Better vanguard programme, managerial and clinical leaders across local providers and commissioners have indicated their commitment to the vision to establish and deliver a single, integrated MCP with a strong clinical voice in Sunderland and have signalled their intent to work jointly to explore the concept and feasibility of this.

The CCG recently outlined the role of the MCP at March’s TITO, and a fuller engagement exercise is scheduled for May.  In the meantime, the Alliance continues to engage in the process, representing the interests of member practices.  The other organisations involved include:

  • NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Sunderland City Council
  • Sunderland Care and Support
  • The South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group (CHS and STFT)
  • Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

As the model develops, the Alliance will, of course, keep you updated.