Creating system leaders and sparking creativity across BLMK ICS

Creating system leaders and sparking creativity across BLMK ICS

Janet Thornley, GPN Strategic Lead, BLMK ICS, outlines how the CARE programme has benefitted BLMK ICS – one of the programme’s pilot sites. 

Earlier this year, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Training Hub funded a 12- month pilot scheme to support the recruitment of a Lead, including general practice nurses and other primary care professionals, to each of our primary care networks (PCNs). This, coupled with our cohort of nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs), has created greater diversity and strengthened the ‘one team’ approach we have nurtured across our ICS.

We had a vision of developing relationships and supporting projects locally that would improve the lives of our patient population.  We wanted to support the PCN Leads with knowledge and skills to become effective system leaders and influencers.

BLMK worked in partnership with Karen Storey at NHS England and Improvement, Clare Simpson at National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) and Rebecca Howard of ShinyMind to develop the programme of support we needed.

The CARE programme was born.

CARE has been pivotal in helping the PCN Leads develop multi-professional relationships which have driven a bottom up, population health focussed approach to care.  This is a national programme for local delivery- tailored to BLMK including our patient population and workforce.

The programme has given the participants the tools to identify the needs as they are right now and actively participate with colleagues across the PCNs to improve patient health outcomes by connecting national and local strategy.

CARE encourages the use of data to analyse what we are doing and how we can create opportunities to act. We’ve been empowering and enabling participants and future leaders to develop more creative, population health focused ways of thinking about patient care.

This is vital in the new primary care landscape we find ourselves working in and of course, living in.

The programme is helping to build a resilient and connected workforce that is able to pull together and share best practice across primary care networks as well as local boundaries. Encouraging greater self- awareness, empowerment and resilience will hopefully release leadership capability and sensitivity.  It has also helped us create compassionate and courageous leaders at the heart of the decision-making process, which will have an impact on the wider healthcare system.

The projects that we are seeing emerge from CARE are exciting and innovative. Patients’ lives will definitely be improved and joy at work has returned for the workforce.

The effectiveness of the CARE programme cannot be over-estimated. It has been responsive, iterative, tailored and comprehensive. It has created the system leaders we sought and has sparked excitement and creativity across our system as well as improved, more integrated and multidisciplinary ways of working.


CARE is a learning and development programme that empowers general practice nurses and other primary care professionals to play a key role in their primary care network, to shape services based on population health needs and to strengthen their leadership. The programme is run in partnership with NAPC, the General Practice Nursing 10 Point Plan team at NHS England and NHS Improvement, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) ICS and specialist coaches ShinyMind. Click here for more information.  

 

 

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