There is a strong push for digital transformation within the NHS. NHS England’s Long-Term Plan, published in 2018, established a set of key digitisation milestones for the next five years. Those specific to general practice, include access to online consultations for all patients and the ability for clinicians to access and interact with patient records and care plans wherever they are (NHS Long Term Plan, 2019). Despite this strong policy push, the digitisation of healthcare has been slow to progress with evidence of variation in progression, causing a ‘digital gap’ (Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, 2019).
The current focus on digital transformation, provides an ideal opportunity for healthcare professionals to explore key influential components impacting on speed and variation of transformation, such as workforce models and how these have been developed or evolved to meet the needs of local populations (Health Education England, 2019).
St Clements Partnership
St Clements Partnership is a General Practice surgery located in Winchester, Hampshire, which has recently been given approval from Winchester City Council and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight ICB to build a new surgery. The current practice building was built in 1969 and has been at risk of compulsory purchase and demolition for a number of years. The new practice project focuses on using digital technologies to support patient care and new ways of working.
Assura plc has designed and contracted the new building which will be delivered to the latest sustainability standards and energy efficiency with a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for its performance.
The vision of the benefits of the new building are:
Wessex AHSN Involvement
Wessex AHSN actively support general practice (among other services) through the Primary and Community Care Programme. St Clements Partnership aligned with that purpose as they needed collaborative support at a time when primary care is focused on its ability to support the challenges of aging population, growing demand for services, and the need to be efficient with resources.
Wessex AHSN was co-commissioned by Hampshire & Isle of Wight (HIOW) ICB and Assura plc in 2021 to research potential innovations that could be place in the 'Health Hub', a dedicated space within the new St Clements Partnership building. Wessex AHSN were also asked to evaluate how these innovations have benefited patients and the workforce of St Clements Partnership once implemented. In practical terms this included;
There was also a dedicated people element to the project as St Clements are undertaking a major evolution in workforce arrangements, both physical space (new building) and in new ways of working.
Wessex AHSN supported this side of the project through a summative evaluation that explored the changes to the building and ways of working for the workforce.
The Recommendation Report
The report provided summary information to support recommendations on three focus areas:
Following the aims and focus areas of the project, Wessex AHSN created a report that put forward 37 recommendations on potential new ways of working within the new facility.
This recommendation report provided an overview of the underpinning work on baseline practice information, a summary of the innovations identified from a horizon scan and further details around process efficiency. These sections were supplemented with technical appendices providing further details on the background to the recommendations and next steps.
Following the opening and operation of the new facility, an evaluation will be undertaken by the AHSN’s Insight Team to compare how the move to the new building and the new ways of working have impacted the workforce.
It is important to note that the horizon scan that was undertaken focused specifically on the St Clements Partnership and their needs. Understanding of those needs was developed through the relationship that we have built with the practice, regular communication and dedicated workshops. St Clements will be reviewing these recommendations and taking forward those that work best for them, their staff and their patients.
The recommendation report is available to view as a resource on this page. Should you have any questions about this report and its findings, please contact Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that confidential information relating to the practice and costs relating to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have both been removed from the report.
If you are interested in following the progress of the build, Assura plc have set up a dedicated website where you can follow progress, view plans and read frequently asked questions. You can access this website by clicking on the following link - St Clements Build Website.