Enhancing the health of care home residents: Gateshead’s vanguard project

Gateshead was one of only six areas nationally to be awarded vanguard status by NHS England for its work to improve the health of patients living in care homes.

A total of 29 vanguard sites were announced by NHS England in March 2015, as one of the first steps towards delivering the NHS Five Year Forward View through improvement and integration of services. The vanguard programme came to an end in 2018, but the work across Newcastle Gateshead to improve older peoples care continues.

The vanguard bid, which was also backed by Gateshead Council, built on the success of the area’s care home initiative, which had already reduced non-elective admissions to hospital from people living in care homes by 9% in two years.

The initiative saw individual GP practices each allocated to a specific care home, providing greater continuity of care and more effective prevention of illness through regular home visits.

Vanguard status put Newcastle Gateshead firmly in the national spotlight as an example of good practice, as well as enabling us to go further and faster in developing the project.