The Future Fit Programme continues to take very positive steps forward, and this was recently recognised by NHS England’s area team which noted the tremendous progress made to date. In particular, they noted the impressive clinical engagement throughout this process and continued ongoing support.
The first phase of the Programme was completed earlier in 2014, including the Clinical Case for Change and the Principles for Joint Working. These documents have been approved by the Governing Bodies of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and the Boards of Shropshire and Telford Hospitals Trust and Shropshire Community Health Trust, and have also been endorsed by the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The work of the Programme is overseen by a multi-stakeholder Programme Board and is managed by a Programme Team which leads seven workstreams:
- Clinical design;
- Activity and capacity;
- Engagement and communications;
- Emergency care centre feasibility study; and
- Impact assessment.
The key task of the current phase of the Programme has been to further develop the high level clinical models. Following the publication of an interim report in March, further work has included:
- Iterative testing of the model against specific patient/clinical scenarios and cross-cutting themes (e.g. Primary Care, Mental Health, Social Care, IT);
- Further defining the evidence base for the proposed model;
- Increased patient and public engagement; and
- Plans for external clinical assurance through the West Midlands Clinical Senate
The very extensive clinical work in support of this has now been completed and a comprehensive report containing new models of care is due to be considered by the Programme Board at an extraordinary meeting on 10 June, having been unanimously endorsed by the Clinical Reference Group (attended by some 50 clinicians) on 28 May.
The clinical work is far more ambitious and wide ranging than had been anticipated. It is greatly to the credit of local clinicians that they have devoted such time and energy to leading the design process. There have been major concerns that a clinical design that focuses simply on hospitals will not be radical enough to deliver a sustainable solution. Thus the notion of painting the full canvas has emerged, out of which the Future Fit Programme will take forward the elements within its scope and, in relation to elements outside of its scope, will define the critical dependencies to be taken forward in parallel.
Following the approval of the clinical model, the Programme will now build activity and capacity projections which reflect the proposed future shape of services. Alongside that work the Programme will also:
- Examine the feasibility of a single emergency centre;
- Develop a provisional long list of options for delivering the model, and a set of benefit criteria for evaluating the options (via a broad stakeholder panel including a number of GPs and patients);
- Undertake community and clinical engagement on the model of care and the provisional long-list and benefit criteria; and
- Approve a short list of options in October
This should enable detailed descriptions of shortlisted options to be worked up and evaluated by June 2015 so that a preferred option can be identified and, subject to NHS England assurance process, put out to formal public consultation.
Further information is available via the Programme website: http://www.nhsfuturefit.co.uk/