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Northumbria Healthcare to lead radical new NHS by forming hospital group

Friday, 25 September, 2015
Northumbria Healthcare to lead radical new NHS by forming hospital group

The chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, has today announced that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is to take a national lead on radical new options for the future of local hospitals across the country.

Described by NHS England as one of the ‘best-run’ hospitals in Britain, Northumbria Healthcare is one of only three organisations selected to spearhead work to develop new ways of working known as ‘multihospital chains’.

The trust will now spread its excellence across multiple geographies, stepping up to the challenge of driving efficiency and improvement across the country. By creating a ‘foundation group’, Northumbria will widen the support and services it provides to other organisations, building on the success of work already taking place.

This work will involve Northumbria sharing its clinical knowledge and expertise, spreading innovation and best practice, as well as providing corporate services to other NHS organisations such as payroll and lease car solutions. It will also have the ability to acquire and/or merge other hospital trusts.

Northumbria has extensive experience in supporting other parts of the NHS and leading innovative change for the benefit of patient care:

·         In October 2014, Northumbria bought out its PFI contract which enabled Hexham General Hospital to be built. The first buyout of its kind in the NHS, the trust is now saving around £3million a year to reinvest in patient care.

·         In March 2015, Northumbria was chosen to lead work with partners to pioneer new models and care and deliver an integrated primary and acute care system for Northumberland as a ‘vanguard’ site. The opening of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in June, where specialists are available around the clock to help save lives and improve outcomes, marked an important first milestone in making sure patients who are seriously ill or injured get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

·         In June 2015, in partnership with local GPs, Northumbria formally launched a new business venture – Northumbria Primary Care – to offer a wide range of professional support services to primary care and further build on its strong track history on integration.

In addition, Northumbria Healthcare has also provided extensive clinical and managerial expertise to North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust since it was announced as ‘acquisition partner’ in 2012.

The joint working with North Cumbria has already yielded significant improvements with better clinical outcomes for patients in hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven with Northumbria now working closely with the newly-formed ‘Success Regime’.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As one of only a few trusts with numerous hospital and community sites, we have vast experience of running services over a vast geographical area, tailoring care to the needs of our local communities and improving health outcomes for our population.

“We are delighted to be able to share our knowledge and expertise to help address the challenges faced by other parts of the NHS, as we are already doing in North Cumbria.

“Creating a hospital group will enable us to build on the success of this work and, by sharing our knowledge and expertise, and creating a standard clinical operating model, help to drive up standards across the UK, while creating vast efficiencies through sharing corporate functions.”

Today’s announcement represents the next stage of implementing the NHS Five Year Forward View. 

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “The era of go-it-alone individual hospitals is now being superceded by more integrated care partnerships – both within local areas, and across different parts of the country. The scale of the interest in these new vanguards from across the health service shows the NHS is up for radical reform.

“Our new approach to hospital partnerships will help sustain the viability of local hospitals, share clinical and management expertise across geographies, and drive efficiency beyond the walls of individual institutions.

“We’ve got some of the world’s best hospitals and specialists in this country, and it’s right they should be able to extend their reach more widely, as the vanguard programme will now allow them to do.”

Ed Smith, the new chair of NHS Improvement (Monitor and TDA), said: “Today’s new vanguards represent the evolution from the era of standalone hospitals, begun in the 1962 Hospital Plan for England, and reinforced by the creation of foundation trusts in the early 2000s. These were right at the time, but the economic and clinical circumstances facing the NHS are now different, and our response needs to evolve.”

Northumbria Healthcare runs 11 hospital and multiple community sites across Northumberland and North Tyneside and delivers adult social care services in Northumberland, in partnership with Northumberland County Council, one of only a few foundation trusts to do so.