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Embracing NHS Integration: Unlocking Seven Underlying Principles

integration

Chief Strategy Officer at NHS England, Chris Hopson joins Chamber for their Integrating Healthcare London and the South East Seminar where he outlined his plans to embrace NHS integration.

Introduced by the Vice Chair of the AHSN Network, Richard Stubbs opens the keynote session at the London and the South Integrating Healthcare Seminar organised by Chamber UK. As an audience of NHS and political stakeholders awaited his address, it is clear that a discourse on integration was to dominate the discussion.

Hopson had listened to the fireside chat between authors of the Hewitt and Fuller Reviews in the preceding session. In his relatively new role as Chief Strategy Officer, Hopson holds the reins to chart the course of healthcare integration in England. In his speech he delves into the heart of the matter, presenting the audience with a thoughtful and compelling speech.

Journey towards Integration

Chris began by acknowledging that the journey towards full integration of care is still underway. As he addressed the diverse audience of NHS, industry and local government leaders, he brings to light the undeniable truth that integration manifests differently across various regions.

Drawing inspiration from this realisation, Hopson embarks on a light-hearted yet insightful exercise. He lists seven underlying principles that he believes underscore successful integration.

  1. Starting with Need: Central to Hopson’s vision is the idea of starting with the actual needs of patients and citizens. Rather than being confined by existing patterns of provision, he encourages healthcare providers to leverage data and adopt a whole population health management approach. By genuinely understanding the needs of the population, providers can design care pathways that align with patient-centricity.
  2. Flexibility in Redesign: Hopson advocates for a flexible and innovative approach to redesigning care delivery. He emphasises the significance of involving patients and citizens at the heart of this process, allowing their perspectives to guide the way forward. This focus on patient-centeredness ensures that care meets the diverse needs of the community.
  3. Integrated Multidisciplinary Teams: Recognising the power of integrated multidisciplinary neighbourhood teams that transcend organisational boundaries, Hopson applauds their effectiveness. These teams, comprising professionals from various disciplines, play a pivotal role in driving meaningful change and positive outcomes.
  4. Enhanced Access, Triage, and Navigation: The fourth principle highlights the importance of optimising access, triage, and navigation within the healthcare system. Hopson recounts an inspiring example from Greenwich, where a single point of access streamlines services and empowers patients to find appropriate care efficiently.
  5. Strengthening Partnerships: Hopson stresses the fundamental role of partnerships in the journey towards integration. Collaborations between local authorities, voluntary sectors, and communities can create a cohesive ecosystem of care that addresses the unique needs of diverse populations.
  6. Optimizing Available Assets: Emphasising a shift away from deficit thinking, Hopson encourages providers to make the most of available resources. This approach ensures that communities can capitalize on existing assets, such as facilities, to deliver effective support.
  7. Empowering with Leadership and Governance: As the final piece of the puzzle, Hopson stresses the significance of the right leadership, governance, and financial measurement and reporting arrangements. When these elements are aligned as enablers of change, they empower healthcare providers to deliver integrated care effectively.

Enabling Change from the Centre

Finally, Hopson discusses the vital role of the centre in enabling change. Trust emerges as a core theme, with Hopson emphasising the need to trust the patient and citizen voice, data-driven insights, and partnerships. The centre’s mission should be to provide ICS with the space to lead, breaking down silos and fostering a culture of holistic thinking.

Final Thought

In this insightful speech, Hopson charts a course towards a brighter future for healthcare integration in England.

His seven underlying principles resonate with the audience, inspiring them to embrace change and prioritise patient-centricity. As the NHS and political stakeholders discuss the event over a glass of wine at the end of the day, they carry with them a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to driving integration forward. With the right leadership, governance, and trust in partnerships, the vision of integrated care becomes not only attainable, but also transformative for the nation’s healthcare system.

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