Bulletin no. 5 19 September 2013

Ways to Wellness – a new approach to long term conditions in Newcastle

Welcome to the fifth Bulletin for the Ways to Wellness Project. The Bulletin assumes that readers are already familiar with the Ways to Wellness Project, so if you are not already aware of our work then please refer to the FAQs and the first four Bulletins, which tell the story so far.

Recent Highlights

· Attendance at Newcastle West CCG Formal Executive Committee meeting – to answer questions and receive comments on the Ways to Wellness Draft Operational Plan. It felt good to have got the project to this stage, albeit that there were challenging questions around finance, critically the need for us to be more explicit about how Ways to Wellness is funded from savings and is not an additional cost pressure for the CCG. We were expecting these questions and are already working hard on the answers, but anyone who has ever tried to unpick patient costs in the NHS will know it is not straightforward. Subject to having satisfactory answers to their questions, we are working towards the CCG Board signing a Heads of Terms agreement at their November meeting.

· Two new people joined the Steering Group, bringing additional skills and experience – Andrew Walton, Connect PHC and Karen Noakes, ACEVO (seconded from Department of Health).

· Corporate Identify – we now have a logo, admittedly not the most significant development in the project, but all the Steering Group like it (painless decision made in less than 5 minutes …) and its nice and colourful!

On-going development work since 8 August

  • Meeting Bev Reid, Assistant Director Partnerships and Relationship Management, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust – useful initial meeting to explore how the Trust may be able to support the project and possible areas for joint working in the future.
  • Refining the Financial Model – we are regularly refining our financial model in the light of feedback from stakeholders and are on to version 7 now.
  • Management Information Systems – we have engaged David Jamieson from Vital Service to undertake further work on our Management Information System (MIS). A systems analysis is being undertaken to ascertain MIS requirements and specific features and functionality, which will inform our business systems options. Or, in lay persons terms, he will be looking at the 'who', 'what', and 'where' aspects of the MIS, ensuring we comply with NHS data regulations, and that where possible, we use existing systems and software and that we do not re-invent any wheels.
  • Learning from local NESTA Social Prescribing evaluation report – recommendations and lessons learned from this report were reviewed by the Steering Group at the September meeting and are built into the Ways to Wellness Operational Model.
  • Meeting with Dr Barbara Palmer , CCG diabetes lead and Sarah Cowling, HealthWORKS – a useful meeting to ensure clear communications with GPs regarding links between Ways to Wellness and a targeted, Big Lottery, diabetes project running locally for the next 18 months.
  • Providing information for SEIF evaluators – the main development funding for Ways to Wellness has been from Social Enterprise Investment Fund (Department of Health) and they are starting their evaluation process with all grant recipients. The evaluation is being led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Recent Challenges

  • Writing the Ways to Wellness Draft Operational Plan – this took up a lot of energy and time during August. Having got a detailed 40 page plan, we then had to condense it into an 8 page summary to go the Newcastle West CCG Executive Committee.
  • Waiting to hear if we get ICRF funding – there are three critical elements of work we have identified that we need extra resource for, linked to 1) “sense checking” ahead of approaching investors, 2) legal advice and support at the contracting stage and 3) establishing robust performance benchmarks. We were expecting to hear early September, but the decision was put back to later in September, and we also heard the pot was heavily oversubscribed. We are still waiting to hear …

Sandra King – Project Director, on behalf of the Ways to Wellness Steering Group.

If you would like the bulletin in another format, please contact us. Email: sandra.king@vonne.org.uk Mob: 07825 818155