IPC Learning Event 4-5 February 2020

In it for the Long Term: Better Health and Care Together

Learning to Integrate - How a punk* and classical** singer sang to the same tune 

The IPC Learning Event  did what it said on the tin - two days of ‘appreciative inquiry’, reflective learning, shared experience, constructive narratives and bucket loads of inspiration. One delegate described the event as “very professionally run but with fun and inclusivity, a very rare mix.”

"In it for the Long Term - Better Health Together" was a very apt title, signalling the commitment of participants to seek improvement and innovation in delivering joined up, sustainable  health and care services  and the event resonated with stories of how professionals were coming together to tackle challenges and make the most of shared opportunities.

This sense of shared endeavour was reflective in the broad sweep of attendees coming together from all parts of England and Wales - to include senior managers, practitioners  and commissioners from local authorities, health organisations and care providers. This rich mix of perspectives and experiences offered the opportunity to collectively learn from each other  and importantly, set up new conversations and contacts to support the integration cause, potentially long after the event had ended. 

The event programme was geared around the inaugural IPC Integrated Health and Social Care Maturity Framework. This was developed to support localities / local systems jointly self assess how well their local integration arrangements - and importantly, how well their integration relationships were faring.  The intention is that with this self awareness, individuals and organisations can then identify and agree together how best to move along the maturity scale, as well as to celebrate how far they have already come (it is good to celebrate).  Participants were encouraged to identify their "system maturity" ahead of the event and at its conclusion to consider the learning they had acquired and apply it as a set of actions to improve their current level of integration maturity.  IPC will also be taking away learning from the event to look at ways it can improve the framework for future use. 

In terms of showcasing good practice, two local systems led plenary sessions over the two days describing their integration journey.  First up was the Adult Social Care/NHS Trust provider team from Southwark, who talked about the Intermediate Care Southwark initiative and how both health and care partners worked together to bring about this nationally recognised service, ably supported by IPC.  The key message was that integration is complex and the building of trust and strong personal relationships were essential to make things work - and that having a robust evidence base is critical to bring about sustainable change. Read more about how IPC supported Southwark.

Bridgend delegates The second showcase plenary session was led by Bridgend County Borough Council and detailed their development of an integrated Community Resource Team (CRT) to support individuals to be more independent at home. Again IPC has supported this work and the presentation described the importance of good professional working relationships and trust at the leadership and practitioner level, as well as taking a whole person and strength-based perspective about how services are coordinated and delivered around a symbolic Mrs Jones from Bridgend.  Read more about on the Bridgend CRT here.
Professor John Bolton led a third plenary detailing latest thinking on the IPC work on managing the flow of patients from hospital. This work builds upon a series of workshops and detailed visits to councils and hospitals across England and Wales, looking at how decisions were made in the transfer of patients from hospital back home, scrutiny of available activity data and a review of what services were available in community settings. The full report is due to be launched shortly and the plenary provided some early messages about the significance of taking a ‘recovery approach’ to how patients are supported to being independent. 

John’s previous publications can all be found on our website publications page – please do check it out, you will find all our reports on a range of health and social care subjects. 

Finally, IPC was delighted that Dave Sweeney (Executive Implementation Lead at Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership) and Frances Newell (Head of Engagement and Communications at NHS England) joined the event on the second day to provide a local system and national perspective on health and care integration, particularly from an NHS point of view.  In a panel session led by Philip Provenzano, both Dave* (punk) and Frances** (classical singer) talked about the complexities of integration and the importance of taking a pragmatic approach to developing strong relationships and levels of trust across the boundaries within integrated systems. Whilst both acknowledged that the promised integrated land was illusory, as there will also be new challenges  to be faced - such as responding to the environmental crisis in an integrated way - there were plenty of opportunities to make a difference immediately around us.  This included seeking a different relationship with local businesses and industry in addressing shared ‘social value’ commitments and obligations - and recognising that we already have the permission and momentum to get on with creating improved and innovative health and care systems.  

The challenge is on... 

For more information about how IPC can help your integrated health and care services  please email Philip Provenzano, IPC Assistant Director.