In classic millennial fashion (although in my defence I did have to google the criteria for being a millennial) I like to travel, and I’m happy to have found myself in a sector which enables my penchant for upping sticks and relocating to far-flung locations. Health care is a universal sector; people worldwide recognise the word hospital, or at least doctor.
While working in Myanmar, I was struck by the sheer volume of challenges facing the health sector – somewhat unsurprising given it spends a little over 1% of GDP on public healthcare. However, there were also several occasions where I found myself thinking ‘this sounds similar to a problem we face in the UK’ - how you best get primary and acute care to collaborate for one. Back on UK soil, and that ‘this rings a bell’ feeling has increased tenfold.
At the Health Foundation I helped develop the Policy Navigator website, exploring the history of NHS reform. The similarity and repetitiveness between policies over time caused me more than one headache trying to remember whether the thing I was writing about took place in 1980 or 2004 (or both). Pressure to deliver good care locally: sorry, do you mean the Cottage Hospitals movement of the 1860s or the 2014 Five Year Forward View? The number of similarities and volume of overlap in the health sector is astonishing. This is true not only over time, but across geography – or even within organisations. There is so much good work going on, both locally and nationally, that the thought of not working effectively and collaboratively seems…well, silly. You may well be thinking that the need for collaboration is obvious. You’re right, it is. But then why do we still struggle at it? It’s a question which fascinates us at Kaleidoscope; our whole purpose is around how to bring people together to improve health and care. It’s now two and a half years since Sir David Dalton published his review of options for NHS providers of care. The report stressed the need for greater collaboration – of many different forms – to enable providers across the NHS to reduce variability in quality and efficiency.
There’ll be sixty of us there, all working on provider collaborations across the NHS aiming to share and understand how to create and sustain provider partnerships which work for patients.
30 months on, the need to improve quality and efficiency remains as pressing as ever. Collaborative provider options are popping up across the country – such as the acute-care collaboration Vanguards, or federalisation in primary care – but do we know yet how such models can deliver benefits to their fullest extent? It’s this question we’re going to be exploring on 13th June at our all-day learning event: Collaboration: Know-How? There’ll be sixty of us there, all working on provider collaborations across the NHS (acute care, primary care and beyond), aiming to share and understand how to create and sustain provider partnerships which work for patients. If you’re similarly intrigued by the nature of collaboration, join us. This event is free, and tickets are available here. Hope to see you on June 13th!