It is the first stage of a long-term collaboration between Vanguard Health Services International in Ireland, and the UK-based NHS Northumbria International Alliance, a partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council.
Northumbria Healthcare chief executive Jim Mackey said: “We are thrilled to be working with VHSI to help them deliver integrated care across Ireland.”
He added: “We have been delivering integrated health and social care for more than 17 years and have learned some important lessons along the way. Thanks to the unique partnership we have with Northumberland County Council we have been able to achieve a remarkable transformation – melding health and social care – across the county.
“The resulting care has been rated as outstanding by the UK care regulator, the Care Quality Commission and, most importantly, our patients have seen enormous benefits.
“It is this experience – both the good and the lessons learned – that we look forward to sharing with our colleagues at VHSI to help them transform care in Ireland. Many of the challenges they face are similar to the ones we have here in the UK – not least how to bring in increased integration of services whilst still remaining affordable; and all in the face of an ageing population.
“We very much look forward to a long and successful collaboration with Audrey and her team at VHSI. Firstly, to help them deliver a world-class integrated care service but also to learn from them and bring those lessons back to Northumberland.”
Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Northumbria is delivering outstanding health and social care in Northumberland and it is with great honour that we can support VHSI to deliver a transformation of care in Ireland.
“This project fits with NCC’s responsibility to support inward investment and export, both for our own local authority, but also across the North of Tyne now due to the devolution. We are delighted to be collaborating commercially with Audrey and VHSI, and it is reassuring that despite the Brexit press, we can and will continue to trade with our European neighbours.
“Integrated care is becoming more important here in the UK, and indeed internationally, and we have been delivering outstanding integrated care for more than 17 years. VHSI have a truly inspirational vision for bringing integrated care to the people of Ireland, and this exciting project will rightly transcend what we have developed here in Northumberland. We very much look forward to being part of this journey, sharing learnings and reinvesting profits generated from our collaboration with VHSI back here for the people of Northumberland.”
Deborah Kobewka, managing director of Healthcare UK, part of The Department for International Trade, said: “I was delighted to be at the signing today of the contract between Northumbria and VHSI. VHSI have an incredible vision for transforming healthcare in Ireland and NHS Northumbria International Alliance are the right partner to help them bring the very best of the NHS to Ireland.
“The deal represents a great example of the NHS exporting its know-how and experiences to support other nations to improve their health and social care. Healthcare UK has actively supported NHS trusts, including Northumbria, to engage in international opportunities with their clients.”
Audrey McDonnell, founder and CEO of VHSI said: “Ireland faces significant challenges in delivering modern integrated care. VHSI is establishing integrated care services, working closely with public health services, to help address some of these.
“Our integrated care model, when fully developed, will have three levels of support: A healthcare campus and Integrated Practice Unit (the hub) in Dublin; affiliated step-down facilities in other locations (the spokes); and telemedicine and community services supporting the hub and spokes.
“VHSI has looked globally for best practices and evidence to design and deliver our vision to transform care by improving access, quality and affordability.
“The NHS is the best in the world at delivering this, and we are pleased to be working with NHS Northumbria International Alliance to develop NHS standard integrated health and social care within the local context of Ireland. Northumbria is the best in the NHS at delivering integrated care and it is only right that we work with them to transform services in Ireland.”