Ending the fragmented way that care has been provided in the NHS using Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).
There is widespread support for ending the fragmented way that care has been provided to improve services for patients and the NHS has been working towards this in a number of ways.
NHS England has announced it will be launching a consultation on the contracting arrangements for Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).
ACOs are just one of these ways and are intended to allow health and care organisations to formally contract to provide services for a local population in a coordinated way. An ACO is not a new type of legal entity and so would not affect the commissioning structure of the NHS. An ACO would simply be the provider organisation which is awarded a single contract by commissioners for all the services which are within scope for the local accountable care model. Therefore any proposal to award an ACO contract would engage local commissioners’ own duties under the NHS Act 2006. Any area seeking to use an ACO contract would need to comply with longstanding public procurement law.
More than 100 entrepreneurs have been given the chance to deliver the best new technology and innovations to fully modernise the NHS.
Some 138 people have been chosen by the health service to make it fit for the 21st century, including five healthcare scientists who will tackle conditions including sickle cell disease and allergic reactions.
The Clinical Entrepreneurs Programme, run by NHS England, supports NHS workers to work with, and learn from, leading health and technology industry experts to develop their own innovative ideas. NHS England has confirmed that more staff will be provided with mentoring and other support to improve patient care.
NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK have teamed up with leading companies from the tech sector as the battle against obesity and Type 2 diabetes goes digital. More than 5,000 people are expected to benefit from a pilot project project which will see five companies and eight areas of the country test drive a range of apps, gadgets, wristbands and other innovative digital products, which starts this month. Users will be able to access health coaches and online support groups as well as set and monitor goals electronically. Some patients will also receive wearable technology to help them monitor activity levels and receive motivational messages and prompts, which is being made available on the NHS for the first time. This online method of receiving support has the potential to have a similar impact to face-to-face interventions – helping bring down high blood sugar levels and in turn prevent or delay onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Between 2010 and 2017, the number of prostate cancer centres at NHS hospitals offering robotic surgery has more than tripled – increasing from 1 in 5 (12 of 65) centres in 2010 to over three quarters (42 of 49) this year. This has been due to the centralisation of complex cancer surgery into fewer, high-volume units as well as the rise in the number of men attracted to centres offering robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.
Of the 16 centres that closed in that time, none offered robotic surgery. The rise of robotic surgery has occurred despite a lack of evidence of improved outcomes in terms of survival and side effects for the new technology compared to traditional open surgery. Experts writing in The Lancet Oncology journal this month said that, as a result, better regulation is needed to assess technology delivery in the NHS, and that quality indicators should be made available to inform patient choice.
Patients in England will also be able to enter symptoms online and receive tailored advice or a call back from a health professional. The NHS.uk website will allow patients to book appointments, access medical records and order prescriptions. The initiatives are part of moves towards a paperless NHS.
It was announced in February this year that £4bn had been set aside for the IT initiative. The new online triage system is part of an expansion of the current NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service. The service is being developed with leading clinicians and will be piloted before the public can use it.
The re-launched NHS website will also allow patients to compare how well their local health services perform in areas of dementia, diabetes and learning disability services. Data on maternity, cancer and mental health data will be added in the autumn. The site will also have a new collection of NHS-approved health apps to guide patient choice.