Healthier Together is a transformation programme that is changing the way that general surgery is delivered across Greater Manchester. It is part of the wider ‘Theme 3 – standardising acute and specialised services’ programme being led by the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, the organisation responsible for overseeing health and social care devolution.
As part of health and social care reform in the city region, the NHS Transformation Unit (TU) secured a commission to support the standardisation of acute and specialised care. Key to its on-going success is engagement with patients, which is at the heart of the implementation of single service teams in each of the region’s four sectors (see map) established in the Healthier Together process.
Partnership working is vital to ensure the implementation of single services is patient centred and co-designed in line with NHS statutory duties. The TU’s Healthier Together team worked with Healthwatch and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to establish a framework for Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) to encourage the involvement of the community before, throughout and after the implementation phase. The aim has been for these groups to offer views on different components of the medical pathway being transformed by Healthier Together.
The Manchester and Trafford sector (MaTS), containing Central Manchester University Hospitals (CMFT) and University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM), is the first of the four sectors the TU has been focusing on. TU set up a PPG made up of patient groups, equality organisations, CCGs and others to analyse and evaluate care pathways. At each group meeting, attendees are split up and given different hypothetical patient scenarios, designed to represent different minority groups and to identify high or low risk patients and their pathways – emergency at CMFT or ambulatory care at UHSM. The identified risks, issues and suggestions for improvement are then added to the sector’s Equality Impact Assessment to be escalated to, and resolved by, the appropriate sector work stream.
The TU’s inclusive approach has worked particularly well because it encourages the group to think about personal experiences and to apply it to a context not usually considered. Problem areas are being identified and clinicians are offering resolutions. It is an excellent example of patients and professionals working in partnership to resolve real issues. The outcomes of the meetings have contributed to the development of the MaTS model of care.
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