The NHS Long Term Plan sets out ambitious plans for the future of health care, and strongly acknowledges the need for local health care organisations to be able to come up with new solutions to improve care in their area. At the Health Foundation, we have the privilege of working with professionals and teams who are meeting the challenge of improving care, whether in hospitals, primary care or the voluntary sector. As our response to the plan made clear, its long-term success will depend on giving this workforce the support they need to keep doing so.

Today, we’re announcing 23 projects funded as part of our Innovating for Improvement programme that aim to do just that – back front-line teams to develop and test innovative approaches to improve health and social care.

Innovating for Improvement

We’ve now run seven rounds of Innovating for Improvement, and funded over 140 projects to a total of over £10.5m. The funding commitment we’re announcing today is our first that focuses on supporting the workforce – aiming to improve the experience of staff and enable them to develop ways of improving health and social care. It attracted 273 applications – the largest-ever number for a Health Foundation programme. We’re proud to be giving grants to a diverse range of organisations across the UK, including charities and social care organisations.

UK map showing distribution of projects
Map data ©2019 GeoBasis-De/BKG (©2009), Google

Improving care for communities

The plan has a clear focus on how the NHS can provide effective, joined-up care in communities. This focus is reflected in many of the projects we’ll be working with – projects that are testing new approaches to delivering care outside of a hospital setting. Here are just three examples.

Firstly, in the west end of Newcastle, Changing Lives are working with GP practices and a range of other partners to meet complex health needs in the city. The project aims to enable staff and organisations to work together in a multidisciplinary way, developing a ‘place-based’ approach to care, and establishing a collaborative workforce culture. The project aligns closely with the The NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to develop primary care networks that connect GPs with community teams.

Secondly, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust will introduce a new way of working for Parkinson’s disease nurses that will allow patients to be seen in their communities. Using technology to enable people with Parkinson’s disease to receive home-based assessment and care will better meet their needs and those of their carers, as well as reducing the pressure on staff by making changes to the way they work. This also echoes the plan’s focus on using digital solutions to improve the quality of and access to care.

Finally, we’re also funding projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Abertawe Medical Partnership is trying to reduce the demand for GP services by improving the health and wellbeing of targeted communities in a deprived area of South Wales. It will be adapting an approach that has been successful in Canada to provide a weekly, preventative, multidisciplinary health care service at residential retirement complexes.

Each project will receive up to £75,000 of funding and, in collaboration with our support providers Rubis.Qi and the Royal College of Physicians, we’re offering a range of support to help our teams along the way, such as networking opportunities and coaching and input from subject experts.

Stay tuned for more updates

This is just a small selection of the fantastic range of projects we’re supporting. We’ll be sharing their stories and learning from them throughout the course of the programme, and we encourage you to find out more about them. The projects will be starting over the next month and we are excited to see the impact they will have on their communities and on the wider health and care system.

Laura Wallace is Programme Officer in the Improvement team at the Health Foundation

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