Top tips for spreading new care models across the health and care system

Samantha Jones

16 / 02 / 2017

Samantha Jones, director of NHS England’s new care models programme, recently met with leaders from across the vanguards and sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) to help address the challenges they face in spreading best practice from the vanguards into STPs and across the wider NHS and care services. 

Here she shares some of the top tips from the vanguards and others developing new models of care and how they can be replicated across the system.

Don’t be afraid to share your failures

“A few months ago, the new care models programme held an event around the theme of ‘learning from failure’ and how we can use our experience of things not going quite right to learn. 

“It should be acknowledged that in developing new care models we can’t expect everything to work and although it’s difficult to do, ‘failure’ shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. We need to learn from what has not worked and then remember to share what went wrong with others, so they can learn from it and avoid doing the same thing. 

“Peter Tinson in Fylde Coast vanguard and Dr Kate Fayers in Better Local Care (Hampshire) vanguard shared how they’ve been ‘learning from failure’ in a recent blog post.”

Share early, and share often
“As I travel around the country, I have seen countless examples of the differences being made for people, from patients and their relatives to carers and staff. Often, there is a belief that these changes shouldn’t be shared until they have been fully tested and evaluated. 

"However, just like failures, successes (even in their early stages) should be shared so that they can be replicated and tested across the system. Dr Andy Knox in the Better Care Together (Morecambe Bay Health Community) vanguard has introduced the ‘Daily Mile’ – where children have to run or walk a mile each day – to a number of schools.”

Share the simple stuff too
“We need to stop thinking that only complete system changes that are fully ready to implement can be shared. The big change for patients and communities will come from the combined effect of many big and small improvements. 

“If something as simple as a new form or process is working in a vanguard, it is worth replicating. For example, the ‘red bag’ scheme developed by Sutton Homes of Care vanguard is a relatively simple concept, yet it has made a big difference." 

Trust your colleagues, your staff, your peers, and yourself
“There are still many processes and hierarchies in place which often prevent learning being spread across the sector. A document won’t be shared unless it has gone through a rigorous vetting process, or a member of staff won’t take action unless given permission. There are people in every organisation who are the front runners in making things happen.  

“Empowering the workforce to be advocates for change and to identify for themselves where new ways of working could be applied locally will help spread innovation faster. To make meaningful change, quickly, staff need to be given the room, and the skills, to think differently. 

“The whole principle of our programme is that we learn from failures and make sure that we share that learning, both good and bad, with people wider, so that we can prevent and support people from making the same mistakes. We cannot only share the good stuff.”

Patients are your biggest advocates
“The vanguards are working on new models of care which put patients, as well as local voluntary and community groups, at the heart of care. The difference this is making to patients’ lives is their biggest success story, so patients can be the biggest advocates of new care models and help inspire change across the system. 

“At Symphony Integrated Healthcare (South Somerset Symphony Programme vanguard) an ‘enhanced primary care’ model sees health coaches work alongside GPs to support people with long-term conditions in improving their health and wellbeing, and in connecting them with voluntary sector-led activities within their local communities, such as walking, cooking and ‘knit and natter’ clubs.”

Keep learning from each other
“Vanguards, by design, are already in an existing network of health and care systems, working towards a shared goal. However, making sure this network of learning is used to its fullest will make all the difference. The enhanced health in care homes vanguards are one of the best exemplars of this. 

“However, while vanguards have been learning as they develop their care models, it’s vital that STPs and the wider NHS and care services also embrace this culture of learning and use the experience of the vanguards to implement changes.”

Keep growing your network
"The challenge to spread learning outside of the vanguards is one of the biggest, and its success will lie with STPs. 

“Making widespread improvements for patients, communities, and our health and care providers, will require wide and ongoing sharing, coaching, peer-to-peer communication, and strategic leadership across the system.”

Samantha Jones was appointed as NHS England’s New Care Models Programme director in January 2015 leading the implementation of new models of care as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View. Follow her on Twitter @SamanthaJNHS

Find out more

The NHS Confederation is working with NHS Clinical Commissioners, NHS Providers and the Local Government Association to help share the learning from the vanguard programme. Find out more about our work.

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Confederation

  • Access exclusive resources 
    Access member-only resources and tailor member benefits and services
  • Personalise your website
    Select topics of interest for recommended content
  • Comment and recommend
    Rate and share content with colleagues
  • Never miss a thing
    Register now to keep your finger on the pulse of the NHS Confederation

Log In