Innovation and learning must remain at the heart of health and care following COVID-19

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Rapid innovation and learning have been at the heart of the immediate response to COVID-19 and must retain pride of place as the health and care sector transitions to managing the aftermath of the pandemic, leading healthcare organisations have said.

A wealth of innovations and new ways of working have arisen in response to the coronavirus outbreak as leaders, clinicians and partners from all sectors have worked in novel ways to develop and deliver services under unprecedented circumstances.

This has happened at a pace previously thought unimaginable

But as focus increasingly turns to resuming ‘business as usual’, three healthcare bodies have highlighted that the health and care sector will need to act quickly to capture and evaluate the range of innovations that have taken place and understand what it would take to sustain and scale them -- before the opportunity to ‘reset’ service innovation is lost.

To support this, the NHS Confederation has teamed up with the AHSN Network and the Health Foundation to explore how the health and care sector can work with staff, patients and the public to understand, translate and adapt the best of COVID-19-related innovations and initiatives into everyday practice – maintaining momentum, sharing what’s working and improving people’s care.

Forming part of the NHS Confederation’s NHS Reset campaign, the partnership will build on the knowledge, expertise and reach of the three organisations to explore what clinicians, leaders, innovators and patients believe should be retained, adapted, reinstated or stopped, and for which populations or settings. 

Critically, it will also consider how the sector should collectively build on the rapid progress made to accelerate the reset and ongoing improvement of health and care planning and delivery.

The collaboration will focus on three key areas:

  • What’s working well? Identifying and understanding what’s working for whom
  • The race to systematise service innovation: how to make the changes in practice and mindset sustainable
  • A spotlight on the wider system: how to ensure the focus is retained on the integration agenda and community, primary and social care

NHS Reset was launched in May 2020 to contribute to the public debate on what the health and care system should look like post COVID-19.

Galvanising members from across the NHS Confederation and wider partners in health and social care, it aims to recognise the sacrifices and achievements of the COVID-19 period, rebuild local systems and reset the way we plan, commission and deliver health and care.

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