Attending conferences like Expo 15 provides important opportunities to network and to take the time and space that they create to help us think differently. Expo 15 surpassed all expectations on this front. We had set ourselves a challenging few days, packed with opportunities to present and showcase our work as well as hear about what others are achieving. Given the large number of frontline staff that attended from Dudley it was fantastic to see the morale boost that this gave. We all felt prouder than ever to be representing Dudley, its workforce and the people we serve. I was impressed by the scale of technological tools and options that were being presented on the stands in the Expo. The effective use of technology is an integral component of our new model of care and we know that this presents significant opportunities for the future in how we work. Seeing all the options available and the vast innovation on show has confirmed my belief that the NHS must revitalise our ambitions and accelerate our uptake on the use of new technologies: both those that we can develop within the service, but perhaps more importantly: connecting into and utilising those technologies and applications that people are adopting for themselves. We have to be able to work smarter and deliver more at a reduced cost – so technological innovation is essential to supporting these requirements.
As many people passed through the New Care Models Zone I was struck by the number who were interested in the governance of our model. Nearly all of the people I spoke to asked this question; however for us, the governance follows our model, it doesn’t drive it. So my answer was simple: this is all about creating the right environment to empower staff and our public. We have implemented the first stages of our new model of care without changing or merging organisations. We have developed their concept of ‘teams without walls’ by creating joint teams of staff from across all agencies to work effectively together to support the rising cohort of people with multiple needs. Community nursing, community mental health, practice pharmacy, social services and voluntary sector workers have all been restructured around the GP practices so now the frontline staff, whilst still remaining within their existing organisations, all work together as teams with each practice to take a responsibility for the same shared population.
Our approach gives frontline staff the right framework and tools so that they are empowered to work together to solve the challenges for their patients. The morale and enthusiasm of frontline staff has improved enormously because they can now meet the whole needs of their patients. If there is a patient who they can’t fully help themselves, there is always someone in the team who they can refer to easily and quickly who has the skills, or access to other services, to be able to solve the problem. And for our patients, the introduction of generic workers and building links to the voluntary sector is helping people to connect back into their communities and they are reporting that this is changing their whole lives (not just their care) for the better.
Overall Dudley was represented by over 30 people from social care, the NHS, the voluntary sector and senior leaders. This is what some of the people who took part had to say:
Tapiwa Mtemachani, Commissioning Manager, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I really enjoyed the two days! What I got out of this event and what struck me the most is how well the NHS as a system is operating in what are really challenging conditions and that the work we are doing as a vanguard, is really offering a plausible solution to the challenges our small part of the system is facing – there was clear interest and adulation from a number of delegates and service users in the mechanics of the services we commission – which was edifying. The event was so powerful in terms of ‘joining the dots’ for some really excellent commissioning and provision right across the country – creating that platform for us to learn from the success of other organisation … and also appreciate our own progress. Great networking too!”
Jason Mann, Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Gateway Worker/Integration Nurse, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust, said: “Expo 2015 was a great opportunity for me to see just how well and forward thinking we are in Dudley in comparison to the rest of England. Many other trusts and organisations wanted advice and information on our model and what we are doing to implement this, for example integration, innovation and improving pathways for patients. I also found it educational to see how innovation is supporting the Five Year Forward View for the NHS, in my opinion if you want to be involved in the future direction of the NHS and be a part of the changing NHS then attend one of these events is invaluable”
Janet Beddows, Cluster Lead Nurse, said: “Dudley is a very motivated, innovative and forward thinking place to work. It was clear from listening to other areas that presented how the Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs and management has initiated our model, how forward Dudley is and why we were awarded vanguard status”
“Expo came at exactly the right time to give us the encouragement locally, we really showed how our way of working together makes a difference for our population and it is thank to staff in the Clinical Commissioning Group and in our services across health, social care and the voluntary sector, that make our achievements possible – I am so proud to be part of team Dudley.”
Paul Maubach, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, attended Expo 15 with more than 30 people from the Dudley team who are part of the Dudley Multispecialty Community Provider vanguard.