• Plans to increase shared budget from £3.7m to £12.3m have been agreed
  • Alliance is in talks with Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust
  • Alliance wants to set up a centre of excellence for stroke at a cost of £1.8m



A pioneering partnership which aims to rethink the way that care is delivered to people over the age of 65 has agreed a business plan to more than triple its shared budget in the next financial year.

Epsom Health and Care Provider Alliance, a partnership between Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, Surrey County Council, CSH Surrey and a consortium of 20 GP practices, has agreed a two-year outline business case with Surrey Downs CCG which would see its shared budget increased from £3.7m in 2017-2018 to £12.3m for 2018-19.

The £12.3m budget would be used to provide an integrated falls service (£66,000), a centre of excellence forstroke (£1.81m), an integrated cardiology service (£220,000), an extended hospital discharge programme (£576,000), and a GP access hub in A&E (£50,000), amongst other proposed services, the agreed business case says.

Final go-ahead for the £12.3m expansion will be decided in September, when the four partners and Surrey Downs CCG review a separate, business case. If approved, the complete service will be launched next April.

The Epsom Health and Care Provider Alliance was formed two years ago and started delivering services in June 2016. It currently provides services to 188,000 elderly residents in Epsom who are registered with the consortium’s 20 GP practices.

Services include urgent assessments for patients who are at risk of emergency admission, diagnostic testing, and home-based nursing care for elderly patients recently discharged from hospital.

The alliance is currently in discussions with Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust, with a view to integrating the trust’s older person’s mental health community teams into the alliance’s workforce.

If Surrey and Borders Foundation Trust agree to become the fifth partner, the proposed £12.3m budget would increase “significantly”, Thirza Sawtell, director of Epsom Health and Care Provider Alliance, told HSJ.

However, the alliance’s first year of operation has not been straight-forward, with delays to the recruitment of both senior staff and an integrated health and social care team.

Ms Sawtell told HSJ that the alliance recognised that there were always going to be challenges to overcome with the degree of integration.

However she was “encouraged” by the impact of the partnership, which she said has already resulted in a reduction of length of stay in hospital of half a day.

Furthermore there had been no increase in the level of emergency admissions at Epsom and St Helier - in defiance of the national trend, Ms Sawtell said.

Epsom and St Helier is currently performing well for A&E targets: the number of patients seen within four hours has increased from 93.8 to 95.5 per cent between quarter three 2015-16 and quarter three 2016-17.