Some of the £200m transformation fund to support the development of new care models will be spent on projects not connected with NHS England’s ‘vanguard’ sites, HSJ has learned.
The fund was allocated to the NHS by chancellor George Osborne in last year’s autumn statement, as part of a “down payment” to implement the NHS Five Year Forward View.
NHS England’s Forward View Into Action planning guidance document, published in December, promised “a £200m investment fund in new care models”. When it identified the 29 vanguard sites developing new care models in March, the authority said the project would be “backed by a £200m transformation fund”.
HSJ understands that NHS England has now committed the funding to a number of projects, but not all of it will be spent implementing the new care models, while some will go to schemes unconnected to the forward view.
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Some of the £200m will be used to support NHS England’s “transforming care” scheme, which began nearly two years before the forward view was published.
The initiative, established in response to the Winterbourne View scandal, is designed to improve services for people with autism and learning disabilities.
A diabetes prevention programme launched earlier this year will also benefit from the fund, along with the final wave of vanguard sites, which will be seeking to set up “viable smaller hospitals”.
NHS England refused HSJ’s request for a full breakdown of how the cash would be allocated, citing general election purdah.
Senior sources working on new care models in several of the vanguard areas have told HSJ that they only expect the first wave of vanguard sites to receive around £100m of transformation funding in 2015-16.
One senior vanguard figure said that part of the reason for this was that vanguard areas – which all involve a complex mix of NHS trusts, commissioners, primary care providers and other partners – would not be able to quickly put together viable business cases for cash to support IT and estates spending.
Another national source close to the project told HSJ that the total amount allocated to vanguard projects in 2015-16 would account for the bulk of the £200m fund.
How much each vanguard site will receive is yet to be determined. NHS England’s new care models team is currently visiting every area in turn, partly to assess how much support they will need.