When was the last time you went to a health conference and heard from a hospital receptionist? We recently held Unheard in Healthcare, a live storytelling event where we heard the real stories collected in notebooks we left across the country. It was incredibly powerful to hear the stories of those who are often unheard: from a hospital receptionist, a carer, a patient. These are the people who make up the health sector, but so rarely do we create real space to hear their voices.
"Many of the people determining policy in healthcare have relatively little experience of delivering care and running the organisations that turn policy into practice," wrote Helen Buckingham of the Nuffield Trust earlier this year.
What we've been doing For the past two months, we’ve been travelling up and down the country to visit British Red Cross and Co-op’s ‘Community Connectors’, learning about what they’re doing to tackle loneliness. These Connectors work in much the same way as the NHS England’s new link workers. We have summarised some of the key learnings in a series of three blogs - check out the first and second in the series to understand the whole picture.
What we’ve been doing For the past two months, we’ve been travelling up and down the country to visit British Red Cross and Co-op’s ‘Community Connectors’, learning about what they’re doing to tackle loneliness.
These Connectors work in much the same way as NHS England’s new link workers. We have summarised some of the key learnings in a series of three blogs - check out the first and third in the series to understand the whole picture.
What we've been doing For the past two months, we’ve been travelling up and down the country to visit British Red Cross and Co-op’s Community Connector services, learning about what they’re doing to tackle loneliness (as well as the range of the UK’s earliest train journeys). As part of their partnership to tackle loneliness and social isolation, the British Red Cross and Co-op established dozens of these schemes across the UK.
What’s a hyper-acute stroke unit got to do with maternity services? What can the roll-out of psychological therapies teach those leading STPs? What could a researcher counting strokes in London possibly gain from talking to a Danish hospital-designer?
This isn’t a game of NHS blind-date (although that’s not a bad idea). These are all questions and connections posed through a series of events run by UCL and Kaleidoscope in May 2018, and funded by NIHR as a form of ‘enhanced dissemination’. Starting with UCL’s comprehensive evaluation of stroke reconfiguration in London and Greater Manchester, we explored how the NHS can achieve successful major system change. What we were trying to do, and why, is the subject of a new report published today, Learning afresh: a case study of a new form of research dissemination.
Health policy loves a good cliché. Prevention better than cure. Care closer to home. Of late, we can add another: that social prescribing - a means for GPs, nurses and others to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services - is the future.
It’s in the NHS Long-Term Plan (“Within five years over 2.5 million more people will benefit”), and also features prominently in the government’s loneliness strategy (“the expansion of social prescribing across the country will change the way that patients experiencing loneliness are treated”).
It’s this topic - of how social prescribing can reduce loneliness specifically - that we have been proud to support British Red Cross and the Co-op in exploring. But if social prescribing really is the future, what does that mean? We asked attendees at a workshop in April to imagine a scenario: it’s 2029, social prescribing has had a significant impact on loneliness - how is the health and care system different as a result?
Developing, maintaining and keeping a thriving network requires commitment. Commitment in time, resources, enthusiasm and an almost fanatical devotion to purpose. And even if you've got all that, networks rarely function in a vacuum and are subject to the same uncontrollable external factors that plague pretty much every project, programme or dream you care to think of.
So how do we prove they are worth the effort, and can we use this to feed learning back into our network's development?
This time last year Rich wrote a blog on his top picks for venue spaces in London. One year later, a whole host of further events under our belt, and objections to the quality of sequels aside* I think it’s time to share the follow-up.
Whether venue hunting on a budget is getting you down, or you’re sat in another perfectly adequate – but entirely uninspiring – hotel conference room for an event, this is the blog for you.
Why do we care? We think a million and one details go into creating a good event, and your environment certainly makes the list. People feel more energised and are more likely to participate in your event if they’re in a venue that encourages that - it’s one of our core principles for event success.
We were very proud to facilitate the recent meeting of the Loneliness Action Group, a partnership convened and supported by the British Red Cross and the Co-op. We were particularly pleased to hear from some terrific speakers who provided important updates on the vital issues around loneliness.
Ramona Herdman, Head of Tackling Loneliness at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, updated the room on the implementation of the government’s Loneliness Strategy, which seems well under way.
Simon Chapman, Deputy Director of the Personal Care Group for NHS England, gave a fantastic presentation on the improvement and expansion of social prescribing in England that hopes to see the recruitment of 1,000 new social prescribing link workers by 2021 with a further few thousand by 2023. The group was also given the opportunity to feed into the government’s early thinking for its anti-stigma campaign through an interactive work session and, finally, encouraged to adopt the Centre for Wellbeing’s Brief guide to measuring loneliness.
Here at Kaleidoscope we are always looking for new ways to achieve our mission of bringing people together to improve health and care.
For our latest venture, we're exploring the avenue of storytelling as a way to overcome some of the barriers in health and care.
In Unheard in Healthcare we are collecting and presenting stories from all corners of the health and care community. Our aim is twofold. Firstly, we want to give people an opportunity to share their story. Secondly, we hope to spark conversations and debate between parts of the health system that don’t always have enough time to connect, including patients, clinicians, researchers, management and policy folk.