A systems approach to health and care design

A more holistic or ‘joined-up’  systems approach to health and social care provision could help  transform the way these essential services are delivered and address the needs of a changing patient population | Royal College of Physicians

The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal College of Physicians have published Engineering better care: a systems approach to health and care design and continuous improvement.

This report explores how an engineering approach could be applied in health and social care to develop systems that meet the needs of patients, carers and NHS staff.  It presents a framework to support ongoing work in service design and improvement in health and care.  It found that more widespread application of a rigorous systems approach to health and care improvement, has the potential to have a transformative effect on health and care.

Full document: Engineering better care: a systems approach to health and care design and continuous improvement.

 

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New model of Primary Care provision

New report from the Nuffield Trust evaluates an initiative called the Primary Care Home (PCH) model developed by the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC).

The primary care home model was developed by the National Association of Primary Care as a response to workforce challenges, rising demand and opportunities to shape transformation in local health and care systems across England.

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Image source: nuffieldtrust.org.uk

This report from the Nufield Trust suggests that the new models of primary care provision are showing early signs of success but will need more resources and support for these models to work well on a permanent basis.

The evaluation found that participating in the primary care home programme had strengthened inter-professional working between GPs and other health professionals while also stimulating new services and ways of working, tailored to the needs of different patient groups.

It was judged to be too early in the scheme’s development for the Nuffield Trust to quantify impacts on patient outcomes, patient experience or use of wider health services.

Full report: Primary Care Home. Evaluating a new model of primary care.

Related: New primary care model needs resources, say experts | OnMedica

Improving care and support for children and young people with mental health problems

Three Royal Colleges have jointly agreed five shared principles designed to improve care and support for children and young people with mental health problems.

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The Royal College of General Practitioners, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and The Royal College of Psychiatrists have issued a position statement saying that as well as the commissioning of specialist treatment, an effective child and young people’s (CYP) mental health system required:

  • acknowledgment that CYP mental health is everybody’s business and should be supported by a shared vision for CYP mental health across all government departments
  • a preventative, multi-agency approach to mental health across all ages, incorporating attention to education for young people and families, social determinants, and health promotion
  • a system of national and local accountability for population-level CYP mental health and well-being, delivered via integrated local area systems
  • training and education for the whole children’s workforce in their role and responsibilities for CYP mental health
  • more support, both from specialist services and other sectors, for professionals dealing with CYP who do not meet referral threshold to CAMHS.

Full document: Position statement on children and young peoples’ mental health

New ambulance service standards

NHS England has announced a new set of performance targets for the ambulance service which will apply to all 999 calls for the first time.

  • National response targets to apply to every single 999 patient for the first time
  • Faster treatment for those needing it to save 250 lives a year
  • An end to “hidden waits” for millions of patients
  • Up to 750,000 more calls a year to get an immediate response
  • New standards to drive improved care for stroke and heart attack
  • World’s largest clinical ambulance trial updates decades-old system

The new targets will save lives and remove “hidden” and long waits suffered by millions of patients, including reducing lengthy waits for the frail and elderly. The new system is backed by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation amongst others.

Call handlers will change the way they assess cases and will have slightly more time to decide the most appropriate clinical response. As a result cardiac arrest patients can be identified quicker than ever before, with evidence showing this could save up to 250 lives every year.

Full story via NHS England

 

Why UK hospital staff find it difficult to make improvements based on patient feedback

Patients are increasingly being asked for feedback about their healthcare experiences. However, healthcare staff often find it difficult to act on this feedback in order to make improvements to services | Social Science and Medicine

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This paper draws upon notions of legitimacy and readiness to develop a conceptual framework (Patient Feedback Response Framework – PFRF) which outlines why staff may find it problematic to respond to patient feedback.

A large qualitative study was conducted with 17 ward based teams between 2013 and 2014, across three hospital Trusts in the North of England. This was a process evaluation of a wider study where ward staff were encouraged to make action plans based on patient feedback.

Through the development of the PFRF, we found that making changes based on patient feedback is a complex multi-tiered process and not something that ward staff can simply ‘do’.

  • First, staff must exhibit normative legitimacy – the belief that listening to patients is a worthwhile exercise.
  • Second, structural legitimacy has to be in place – ward teams need adequate autonomy, ownership and resource to enact change. Some ward teams are able to make improvements within their immediate control and environment.
  • Third, for those staff who require interdepartmental co-operation or high level assistance to achieve change, organisational readiness must exist at the level of the hospital otherwise improvement will rarely be enacted.

Case studies drawn from our empirical data demonstrate the above. It is only when appropriate levels of individual and organisational capacity to change exist, that patient feedback is likely to be acted upon to improve services.

Full reference: Sheard, L. et al. (2017) The Patient Feedback Response Framework – understanding why UK hospital staff find it difficult to make improvements based on patient feedback: A qualitative study. Social Science & Medicine. 178. pp. 19-27.

 

New models of care in practice

The NHS Confederation has published briefings on new models of care and how they are working in practice:

Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts

Reviewing the culture of NHS trusts and addressing disconnects between clinicians and managers within the organisation is key to improving care, a new CQC report has revealed. | Care Quality Commission | via National Health Executive

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The CQC has published ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.

The document examines how a number of different trusts improved care and subsequently their CQC rating by making simple changes to how services were run.

During its study, the inspectorate found that engaging with staff and allowing for open and honest conversations was vital to making improvements to care delivery.

The CQC also discovered that successful trusts tended to make their chief executives and senior staff more visible by having them spend more time on the ‘shop floor’ – meeting staff and setting up regular channels of communication. The report also highlights the increasing challenges faced by trusts.

Read more at National Health Executive

Full report: ‘Driving improvement: case studies from eight NHS trusts’.