AN American health care company and an international technology firm are about to play a major role in how the NHS works in Wirral.

The borough is to be a test area for how a "new model" for hospitals and GP practices will operate in the future.

Wirral hospital trust and other public health care providers have joined forces with private firms to submit a successful bid to become a so-called "Vanguard site."

Wirral is one of 29 vanguard areas to have been chosen by the NHS.

Each qualifies for a share of a £200m transformation fund and will "trail-blaze new ways of providing more joined-up, personal care for patients and increase efficiency."

The Wirral application was led by the hospital trust, who formed a syndicate with other local public sector health providers, Wirral Council and three outside bodies:

Cerner UK Ltd - described in the bid document as a "Cornerstone partner in the delivery of informatic solutions and population health management."

Advocate Physician Partners ACO (USA) - "Cornerstone partner in the delivery of modelled Accountable Care Organisation deployment and learning"

King's Fund: An independent think tank and another "Cornerstone partner in the delivery of research, learning, evaluation and dissemination."

A report to next week's meeting of the health and wellbeing board, chaired by Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies, welcomes the successful outcome of the bid and says the aim is "to bring home care, community nursing, GP services and hospitals together for the first time since 1948."

It says the vanguard areas will lead the nation in developing "game-changing care models."

"For patients, this could mean fewer trips to hospitals as cancer and dementia specialists hold clinics local surgeries, one point of call for family doctors, community nurses, social and mental health services, or access to blood tests, dialysis or even chemotherapy closer to home," says the report.

It continues: "This new model of care will reveal how – infused with leading edge information technology from Cerner and the proven experience of existing and successful ACO Advocate Physician Health partners – new ways of working and better organisational design will better fulfil the health needs of the Wirral peninsula’s population.

"We aim to test, evidence and disseminate the opportunities to be gained from an integrated approach with aligned incentives to manage improved outcomes for patients."

Arrowe Park Hospital has come in for sustained criticism in recent months.

Health watchdog Monitor launched an investigation into its finances, aiming to understand why Wirral Hospital Trust is heading for an overspend of £5.5m.

And Birkenhead MP Frank Field recently branded Wirral's acute hospital as being “ungovernable. ”