A majority of clinical commissioning groups could close over half of their funding gap by implementing best practice interventions, NHS England guidance shared with HSJ claims.

The national body examined over 500 possible measures to see if they could help close the health service’s funding gap, estimated to be £30bn by 2020. It highlighted 20 interventions, which it believed could have the greatest impact on service quality and finances.

According to NHS England, these interventions could theoretically reduce the funding gap of CCGs in suburban areas by up to 58 per cent; those in urban areas by up to 56 per cent; and those in rural areas by up to 40 per cent.

Its director of strategy, Robert Harris, said: “People queried what would happen if the NHS implemented what they already knew works well − so we started to look for the evidence base behind interventions that worked well.”

The Any Town guidance distinguishes between “high impact interventions”, which have already been proven to be successful, and “early adopter interventions”, such as GP tele-consultations and 24-hour asthma services for children and young people, that have not yet been fully assessed.

The guidance considers what intervention is most appropriate for CCGs in rural, suburban and urban settings.

For example, as urban areas tend to have a younger population with a higher prevalence of mental health and depression, it states that the introduction of psychiatric liaison services would have a net benefit of £1.5m for an average CCG, compared to £0.7m for a typical rural CCG.

Meanwhile, rural CCGs, which tend to have older populations and higher rates of cancer, dementia and heart and lung disease, would make the greatest impact with interventions in these areas.

Professor Harris told HSJ that current provision was not sustainable and “further long term radical changes” were required to ensure health demands could be met.

“The evidence is there, we now need to customise it for local use,” he added.

See guidance