Bulletin no. 11 19 August 2014

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

Welcome to the 11th 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 nine Bulletins, which tell the story so far.

Recent Highlights

We get the three “yes’s” that we need to move to move Ways to Wellness to the contracting stage – the “yes’s” are the in-principle offer letter from the Big Lottery to Newcastle West CCG for support from the Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund; a yes from Newcastle West CCG Executive to proceed to contracting with Ways to Wellness and a yes from Bridges Ventures our social investment partners to provide the financial investment we need.

Procurement Process completed for Social Prescribing Providers – the four successful organisations are Changing Lives, First Contact Clinical, HealthWORKS Newcastle and Mental Health Concern. We are excited to be starting the process of working with the providers to get contracts in place and to ensure they are all ready for the service launch in January 2015.

Support from Newcastle Healthcare Charities - we have an in principle decision from Newcastle Healthcare Charities to award £50k which will mainly help towards training and induction costs of the linkworkers in the first year.

On-going development work since 10 June

Chief Executive Recruitment – the first round of interview for Ways to Wellness is complete yet there is space for final applications, with the closing date of 8 September. We are seeking a dynamic and entrepreneurial individual to become Chief Executive of this flagship new venture. Further information is available by contacting Sarah Glendinning at Nigel Wright Recruitment sarah.glendinning@nigelwright.com or by following this link http://ukrecruitment.nigelwright.com/JobVacancies/Chief-Executive-365560/

Ways to Wellness Board takes over from Steering Group – as Ways to Wellness moves from being a project in development to an operational service, so our structures have changed. We had the final meeting of the Steering Group, who have helped us to get to this stage, and the new Board Members are now well and truly inducted and engaged and are focused on moving towards being operational in January 2015.

First meeting of the Communications and Patient Engagement Board Sub-Group –several sub-groups of the Board have been established and are starting to meet, including this important sub-group which is looking at effective patient engagement and also the communications and social marketing we need to put in place ahead of the service launch.

Long Term Evaluation of Ways to Wellness – we are working on a comprehensive long term evaluation for Ways to Wellness, we know what we want to do but a crucial part of this involves securing funding to do it! We are looking at several options including National Institute of Health Research.

Management Information Systems –The bespoke MIS system is more or less completed for Ways to Wellness. We are now working towards both Ways to Wellness and our newly appointed providers achieving the appropriate NHS Information Governance levels. We are also starting to work with Practice Mangers to finalise the referral process from their respective software systems.

Supporting Grant Applications – We had a further meeting with NESTA to try to secure funding for additional volunteer peer to peer support for people with long term conditions. We need to do further work on the design and training for this service, but the intention is that the volunteers would work with the link workers and provide longer term support after the initial input from the link workers. We hope that NESTA will see this as an important addition to the project. .

Ongoing work to refine the Financial Model – we continuously refine the financial model to ensure it links across to all aspects of the operational model, and we are currently up to version 16.2 of the financial model.

Ongoing discussions with potential social investors – whilst we have secured the main social investment from Bridges Ventures, we have continued discussions with Big Issue Invest and Social and Sustainable Capital and we are confident that one of these will come on board shortly.

Link Worker Induction Training – we are putting together a training programme to ensure that the newly appointed link workers have the core training they need to work effectively with patients. Training will include the Health Trainer Training, training on how to use the Wellbeing Star, understanding Long Term Conditions and also Mental Health training.

Primary Care Team Referrals –ensuring we get the right number of appropriate patient referrals is critical to the success of Ways to Wellness. We have had useful meetings to ensure we explore all available avenues on this and we are in the process of pulling together a comprehensive action plan.

Recent Challenges

CEO Recruitment - Despite an initial recruitment round we have still to appoint a CEO. We are confident that with the support of Nigel Wright our recruitment consultants we will have someone in place fairly soon. This has delayed the planned launch until January. The downside of this has been the need to review our finances so that we have sufficient support to carry us through a further three months development phase. Looking at it more positively, it gives us more time to soft test our systems so that we can launch with a big bang at the start of 2015.

Contracting Arrangements – we are making progress but there are challenges as it is the first time that this type of social investment arrangement has been undertaken in the NHS, so we are breaking new ground and there are no precedents to follow. We have set up weekly conference calls between Bridges, Ways to Wellness and the CCG to progress all the contracts between the various parties. All organisations also have their lawyers working on the contracts.

Defining the contract metrics - we are getting very close to finalising these metrics, but work on this has continued to take up a significant amount of time and energy.

Sandra King – Project Director, on behalf of the Ways to Wellness Ltd Board.

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