How can we leverage changes in the health and care environment to our benefit at a local level?
05 January 2022

As we start the new year, Sandra Atik, Head of Business Services at the Hub, reflects on the upcoming changes to the health and social care landscape.

Covid and winter pressures.  Isolation.  We’re surrounded by so much change, both in our working and private lives.  Navigating the challenges that change may bring can sometimes be unsettling, stressful even.  So, on reading a recent article in the HSJ by Dr Jenny Shand and Rachel Penniston, The Five Habits of Learning Health Systems, my attention was particularly drawn to the fifth habit identified, which is closure.  It struck a chord with me and got me thinking.

We start so many different journeys but how often do we take a moment to acknowledge or reflect on their ending?  There are significant benefits if we make time to do so.  When you know that you’ve left a task or project in a good place, given your all to make it successful, it’s a job well done.  Completed.  You can switch off.  Closure brings a sense of calm.  It also helps you to move forward, to start the next new thing with a clean slate.

This got me thinking about the resources and support available to our members amid the tremendous journey towards Integrated Care Systems over the next 24 months, in addition to recent changes in procurement law for public entities.

When you consider the number of considerations involved with such wide-reaching change, making sense of it can seem overwhelming.  Integrated Care Systems will look at the whole of, well, everything.  The proposed changes are intended to be holistic, breaking down the current system and putting it together again in a more thoughtful, meaningful way. Successfully navigating this transition is going to require a shift in the way we think, but where do we start?

Collaboration in the NHS is supported in a variety of means.  A good source is the NHS Futures Platform; a recent conversation thread which caught my attention discussed how access within secondary care could be re-shaped and supported.  It focused on outpatients, the main access point for care in the acute environment.  For me, outpatients are like the beating heart of an organisation.  People are seen, treated and sent home or admitted.  It is the first line of support for patients, the reason we are all here. People and treatment needs regularly crossover between primary and secondary care environments.

If we can do things differently, in a way which causes less stress to workers, improves patient outcomes, brings well defined care pathways and is clinically appropriate, why wouldn’t we want to do this? If we can triage on arrival, resources and spaces can be freed up for patients which must remain within the acute setting.

This journey will undoubtedly be a difficult one.  Most systems will probably need external support with additional resources and skills. If your system has started this journey and you could use some support in taking the next steps, the Hub is here to help. We have an excellent support suite of framework services to help ease the pressures brought on by large-scale change. For more information on our Transformational, Upskilling and Workforce service offerings, please contact us to discuss your requirements:

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