The Wessex Model for workplace exchanges

A low resource, high impact model for workforce exchanges is being scaled up after successful schemes led by Wessex based GPs Dr Sally Ross and Dr Pritti Aggarwal. The idea was first developed in 2015 by Dr Sally Ross who ran the first version in Portsmouth. Since then the model has been replicated and developed in Southampton, Basingstoke and beyond -and the improvements designed by participants are continuing to play out.

The Wessex Exchange Model was developed to overcome challenges with fragmented working and ineffectual delegation of workload by building trust and relationships between professionals and creating time for professionals to find solutions mutually towards providing joined-up care for patients.

The impact of the first schemes in Wessex showed that these localities were making significant quality improvements and successfully implementing the new measures introduced in the NHS Standard Contract 2017-18. In October last year the Primary and Secondary Care Interface Working Group published the Contract Implementation Toolkit which provides practical guidance on implementing the Contract measures and included the model as a case study.

An analysis of the Wessex Exchange Model has been published in the BMJ, along with a BMJ blog post.

The Wessex Model – What is it?

  • Participants volunteer to take part in the Wessex Exchange Model and are matched with a colleague and each ‘pair’ then arranges two half day exchanges at a time that suits them. The model emphasises “learning from liaison” and empowering clinicians to change wasteful processes and generate new ideas.
  • The scheme concludes with a closing celebration event or meeting, depending on the preference of the locality. This provides a significant opportunity to share outcomes, create further ideas and discuss any next steps for future opportunities.
  • Co-ordination and resourcing of the schemes has taken place within the system at a local level.
  • Each locality has adapted the scheme to reflect its priorities and unique identity.


  • Improve collaboration and working practices between providers and professionals
  • Embed quality improvement across the interface to benefit patient experience and safety
  • Repair a damaged professional culture in health and social care
  • Personal development opportunities including quality improvement, collaborative working and increased morale


Together with the Chief Executive of the Hospital, we’re really supportive of this initiative. I think both because of the benefits it brings to clinicians feeling less isolated and building that dialogue across the divide between primary and secondary care – which is really important to us as a commissioner, but also because of the benefits it that it will bring to patients.

John Richards, Former CEO of Southampton City CCG – now Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICS

There’s no barrier that can’t be broken, and it is so important to just keep talking to your colleagues, keep asking and making sure that you have those working relationship that always make the best for your patients.

Dr Pritti Aggarwal, GP Wessex Model Lead, GP

Running an exchange

A guidance document which includes a full suite of templates for localities wishing to set up their own version of the Wessex Model has been published.

The Wessex Model provides a useful blueprint for exchanges, but each system will implement the scheme differently depending on your priorities and culture – with your own unique approach, outcomes and learning that others can benefit from.  We encourage all sites to share their experiences and learning, for others to benefit from, by using the form at the bottom of this page.

Case studies and resources

Sharing and learning

We invite all sites who have taken up the Wessex Model for exchanges to share their model by either completing the survey below, and/or submitting your contact details for us to follow up.