New models of NHS Care

A major component of the STPs is the integration of care within the region. The plans often discuss the formation of multispeciality community providers (MCPs), primary and acute care systems (PACS), local care organisations(LCOs) and accountable care organisations (ACOs). These terms are scattered through the STP documents, but can mean slightly different things in each area. This page gives an overview of what these terms can mean.

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Multispeciality Community Provider (MCP)

An MCP is a type of integrated provider focused on community care and moving care from hospital-based services out into the community; MCPs often include primary care.

An MCP can incorporate some services generally based in hospitals, such as some outpatient clinics or care for frail older people as well as some diagnostics and day surgery. An MCP often includes mental as well as physical health services and could extend to social care provision. Under an MCP, hospital-based services not within the MCP are provided by a separate contract with a local hospital.

MCPs are generally made up of  ‘care hubs’ of integrated teams, with each typically serving a community of around 30-50,000 people.

Importantly, an MCP serves the whole population, which is the registered lists of the participating practices, plus the specified unregistered population.

A fully integrated MCP, which includes all primary care, can hold a single, whole population budget for all the services it provides, including primary medical services.

Contract issues

According to NHS England, there are three contract possibilities:

  • A ‘virtual’ MCP, under which individual providers and commissioning contracts are bound together by an ‘alliance’ agreement.
  • A ‘partially integrated’ MCP contract, which excludes primary medical services, but which is supported by contractual arrangements between the MCP and the GPs to lead to integration.
  • A ‘fully integrated’ MCP contract model with a single whole-population budget across all primary medical and community based services.

NHS England has also noted that a fully integrated MCP contract will be a hybrid of the NHS standard contract and a contract for primary medical services. It will set national and local service requirements and standards. Contract duration will be much longer than is usual for an NHS standard contract at 10 or 15 years.

Payment to the MCP will be made up of three parts: a whole population budget for the range of services covered; a new performance element; and a gain/risk share for acute activity.

According to NHS England, MCP contracts can be held by a community interest company, a limited liability company or a partnership, or by a statutory NHS provider.

MCP Vanguards

England has 14 MCP vanguards - areas which have led the way in developing this new model of care, and these now serve a minimum population of around 100,000 each. These are, as follows:

The Dudley Contract

In June 2017, Dudley CCG, one of the 14 MCP vanguard areas, became the first MCP vanguard to advertise a contract for its MCP.  The contract notice issued by Dudley CCG and Dudley Council states that the 15 year contract worth £3.4 to £5.4 billion will cover all community-based physical health services; some existing out-patient services; primary medical services; urgent care and primary care out of hours services; adult social care services; mental health services; end of life care; plus IT and management activities currently carried out by the CCG. The contract will cover around 300,000 people.

The contract could extend to cover more areas, including older people's care (including care homes, home care, dementia gateways and reablement services) and learning disability services (including care homes, supported living, other community based provision); mental health services (care Homes / supported living / recovery model provision); plus many other services currently commissioned from the voluntary sector and services commissioned to support the public health and/or social care commissioning operations of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Dudley CCG.

The closing date for tenders is 13 July 2017 and the contract is due to begin 1 April 2018.

The Manchester Contract

In April 2017 Manchester Health and Care Commissioning advertised a contract worth £5.9 billion for a provider of all out of hospital services. The contract, the largest ever to be advertised by the NHS, is for a ten year period. The contract is seeking what it terms a "local care organisation" to cover all community, primary, preventative, and social care services. The contract does not include hospital care. The contract is seeking a single provider, but the provider will be allowed to subcontract.

In March 2017, the vanguard area All together better Sunderland was reported to be planning to seek a single organisation as an MCP. This contract is worth £340 million.

Integrated primary and acute care systems
Nine regions are acting as vanguards for the formation of primary and acute care systems (PACS) as a model of integrated care.  In contrast to the MCPs, this model of care includes hospital care, as well as GP, community and mental health care. These nine vanguards are as follows:

This model of care can be developed into an accountable care organisation or a local care organisation.

Accountable Care Organisation (ACO)

In some cases the STPs discuss the formation of an accountable care organisation or ACO. In general an ACO brings together a number of providers to take responsibility for the cost and quality of care for a defined population within an agreed budget. ACOs take many different forms ranging from fully integrated systems to looser alliances and networks of hospitals, medical groups and other providers.

The theory behind ACOs is that if the organisation has a limited budget for a population, this acts as an incentive for the organisation to keep people as healthy as possible to decrease overall use of healthcare services, and to minimise the use of high-cost hospital-based care by ensuring effective community-based provision.

In the USA, where the ACO system has been introduced over the last few years, the key to the model is a capitated payment system under which the partners can retain any savings they achieve. Such payments are dependent on the ACO achieving numerous quality and outcome measures that incorporate patient experience, patient safety and preventative care.

In England the most advanced ACO model of care is in Northumberland, where an initial vanguard area developed into an ACO.  The partners in the ACO are:

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