Europe’s largest integrated health and social care event Health+Care which took place in June at Excel London helps build relationships between commissioners, providers and suppliers. Organised by Closer Still Media, it enables more than 10,000 senior health and social care professionals to come together, forge new partnerships and productive ways of working—2017 was no exception. Colleagues from across the NHS, local government, care homes, and the voluntary sector come together to network on an equal footing to collaborate and share learning around implementing change.

With 470 exhibitors and 400 global speakers including such senior figures in healthcare as Lord Carter of Coles, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, chair of the NHS Confederation, and Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. Medical Director at NHS England the two-day event offered a diversity of insights into health and care in the UK

This year there was a particular emphasis on delivering impactful transformation across local health economies drawing on the best examples with the most potential for replication. The opening session of the Sustainability through Transformation Hub chaired by Stephen Dorrell referred to the 44 STPs as “the only show in town” but looked at how to make them work in practice and how to identify “low hanging fruit.”

First up was Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, which presented a joint vision of developing best practice where local people if they are ill receive joined up care. “Our population is the key to our success, “said Ros Hartley, Director of Strategy & Partnerships at the CCG. She detailed the work of 70 community ambassadors and how clinicians were at the heart of what is changing in Hampshire. Jane Hogg, Integration and Transformation Director at the trust, said there is now an emphasis on developing leadership with a special programme aimed at encouraging NHS staff early in their careers to become champions of change. All of them were developing the ethos of being part of a single system of healthcare committed to “making change stick.”

Jacob West, National Care Model Lead, said success for STPs was about place-based working but also having a care-based model as well as a business model, making the case for patient care. Richard Stubbs from the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network added that challenge for middle management in the NHS and STPs rested with resolving the potential clash between radical and incremental change but there was a need to empower “change agents.”

“Coffee, Shoe Leather, and Persuasion”

Mary Hutton, Gloucestershire STP Lead, described the different challenges facing a STP area with a mix of urban and rural population and a historic mix of commissioners and providers of services. Her STP was driving ahead with change including savings of up to £20 million from “quick wins” in social care but was also prioritising the need for change in delivering health outcomes. She detailed an STP initiative with all primary schools in the county were the children were being encouraged to run a mile a day to keep fit and avoid childhood obesity.
The STP was also taking an interest in programmes to improve children’s sight and vision and into research for reducing falls by elderly people by helping likely sufferers from this risk to stand up safely. It was also helping more than 1,000 people to better manage pain through a “living well with pain programme.”

In the discussion session a comment made from the floor was that “the NHS is good at inventing but not at adopting.” However, it was also recognised that in promoting new care models STPs had to deal with levels of complexity in governance and barriers to information. In response to a question from a consultant paediatrician the chair said: “How do we do paediatrics without access to the school system?” For elderly citizens there was a need for a “whole person approach” to frailty picking up on initiatives adopted in some trusts for an “e frailty framework.” A closing comment was that the process of realising change is a challenge involving “coffee, shoe leather, and persuasion.”

Health+Care 2018 takes place 27-28 June 2018