Funding from a £1.5 million innovation programme is being ploughed into health services in Shropshire and Mid Wales, it has been revealed.
Shropdoc (Shropshire Doctors Co-Operative Ltd) and the Powys Teaching Health Board have been selected by the Health Foundation to be part of its Innovating for Improvement programme.
The £75,000 funding will be used to support a new project, based in rural Wales and Shropshire, that involves a new way of working through a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) and new technology.
The project aims to increase access to primary care for the rural populations, reduce referrals to secondary care, increase point of care testing and improve patient experience.
Over the course of the programme the team will develop its innovative idea and approach, put it into practice and gather evidence about how the innovation improves the quality of health care.
Joanne Harding, Director of Transformation at Shropshire Doctors, said: “Shropdoc is delighted to be working in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board to deliver improved care for patients using innovative ways of working that includes greater use of technology.
“This is an exciting opportunity to build on existing work but more importantly to continue to improve and share what we do through a collaborative approach and it is wonderful that the Health Foundation recognise and support the approach through this funding award.
“We are particularly pleased to be able to include colleagues from the Veterans Health Administration on the project team who can offer additional expertise that will ultimately benefit patients across Shropshire and Powys.
“This is really is a ‘team approach’ to better healthcare provision.”
Among the work the funding will support will be the robust evaluation of Urgent Care Practitioners who are working on clinical assessment of patients over the telephone, and working with other health professionals such as GPs to access the most appropriate care for patients.
Alan Lawrie, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Primary and Community Care and Mental Health at Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “Access to primary care can be challenging for people living in a rural area.
“Here in Powys Teaching Health Board we have a strong track record of working with Shropdoc to improve primary care access for rural patients. Thanks to this £75,000 grant from the Health Foundation we will be able to take this work even further.
“We are already receiving positive feedback about our local Urgent Care Practitioners, but this grant will support a robust evaluation to help us decide how these new roles could benefit more patients in future.”
Sarah Henderson, Associate Director from the Health Foundation said: “We are very excited to be working with such a high-calibre of teams, who all have great innovative ideas.
“As an organisation we are keen to support innovation at the frontline across all sectors of health and care services, and I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their ideas over the next year.
“Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and impact of the team’s innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of health care, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK.”
The programme will run for 15 months.The Health Foundation is an independent health care charity and the latest round of the programme is supporting 22 health care projects in the UK.
Its aim is to improve healthcare delivery and the way people manage their own health care by testing and developing innovative ideas and approaches and putting them into practice.