Sunderland transformation programme that is changing the way health and social care is delivered has again received a vote of confidence from NHS England bosses with £4.8million funding for 2017/18.

NHS England has announced the new allocation of funding earlier than normal to allow advanced planning to support and spread the work of All Together Better, one of 39 national programmes called ‘vanguards’, designed to introduce new ways of working by delivering more joined-up health and social care.

All Together Better brings together health and social care professionals with a range of local support organisations, including the community and voluntary sector, to improve the lives of people in Sunderland especially those who need the most help and support to manage their long term conditions and/or frailty in the community and live as independently as possible.

Debbie Burnicle, Deputy Chief Officer Sunderland CCG, said: “This shows the confidence NHS England has in the ability of our partnership to deliver on our plans to improve community-based health and care in Sunderland through the All Together Better vanguard programme.

“At a time when both health and social care services are under pressures never previously experienced, here in Sunderland we are making significant steps forward to maintain and improve services for people with long term conditions, particularly those with the most complex needs, trying to keep them as well as possible and out of hospital if they don’t need to be there.

“This additional funding will allow us to continue to develop, and, because the decision comes early, we have time to properly review where we are; look at what is working well and where we can do things differently, based on lessons learned and progress gained.”

The funding also means the programme can continue at pace for a further year to ensure the new model of care being delivered in Sunderland is sustainable into the future

In addition to the funding, All Together Better will continue to receive support from NHS England and other national bodies to implement its plans, including how they harness new technology and help to develop the workforce so that it is organised around patients and communities.

Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme said: “The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff.  2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services.  This funding, as well as the support we offer to them, will help them to continue to move at pace.”

Nationally, the total funding allocated to All Together Better matches that of 2016/17 and was the highest allocation to a ‘multispecialty community provider’ (MCP) – the category of vanguard All Together Better operates as.

New models of care, including the work of the vanguards, are key to the delivery of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which are being developed across the country.

In order to secure their allocated funds, vanguards will need to meet a number of conditions including:

  • spread of their new care models within and across STPs, including production of guidance and materials for others to use;
  • full implementation of the published care model frameworks – what good looks like within their vanguard type;
  • clear quality improvements and costs/savings.

As with 2016-17, local evaluation remains a critical part of the programme and will be funded separately, with details set out at a later date.