Innovation into practice at scale – our work in 2019/20

The South West AHSN’s Annual Review highlights how our organisation is working to improve the health of our population and create economic growth across the region.

Jon Siddall, who returned to the South West AHSN as Chief Executive Officer in April, believes this work has played an important role at this time.

“Our health and care system faces major challenges,” said Jon, who was part of the team that launched the South West AHSN in 2013 and most recently worked as Executive Director of Programmes at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity in London.

“Even before COVID-19 emerged, increasing pressure on services demanded innovation in the way we deliver health and care services.

“In this year’s annual review, we’ve focused on sharing examples of how we support partners to adopt innovative practice, build their capability to improve and help them understand the impact of change.

“Whether it’s through our patient safety work, support for GPs to offer digital triage, or social prescribing test beds, we are proud to be helping our partners respond to challenges and put innovation into practice at scale.

“Whatever lies ahead, spreading innovative practice will be an important part of how we collectively respond successfully.

The annual review highlights a series of initiatives we have supported and expanded with partners over the last year, including examples from the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • A training programme used in 350 care homes across the region that enabled their staff to spot early signs of patient deterioration.
  • Supporting regional social prescribing test bed sites to develop new ways of helping people at risk of being isolated at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Rapid learning programmes, which have enabled our partners to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances brought about by the pandemic and use this insight as new challenges emerge in the short- and long-term.

Our work over the last year also features projects with the network of fifteen AHSNs across England, spreading innovative practice with hundreds of local health and care teams, reaching hundreds of thousands of patients. Projects include:

  • An exercise-based rehabilitation programme for knee and hip pain that benefitted more than 800 people in the South West. ‘ESCAPE-pain’ (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise) is expected to save health services £160,000 over three years.
  • PINCER (pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors) – an initiative that helped 100 GP practices and 50 pharmacists identify 2,000 patients at risk from prescribing errors.
  • Quality Improvement Partner Panels (QuIPPs), which worked to improve the quality of services by providing people from all backgrounds with a say on innovation and improvement projects. Being set up to work online at the start of the pandemic, QuIPPs allowed people to continue providing feedback throughout lock down.

As well as reflecting on last year’s achievements, the review also looks ahead to future challenges.

“The organisation will continue to use its skills, influence and network to make a demonstrable and positive impact on the region’s recovery from COVID-19. This involves strengthening digital pathways and expanding access to those pathways to ensure no one is left behind or disadvantaged.

“I’m grateful to the South West AHSN team, and many and varied partners we’ve worked with throughout the year to make the achievements we have seen in the South West. We need to continue forging these relationships – at local, regional and national level – to develop new partnerships that will spread innovative practice and ultimately improve the health of people across the region.”

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