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Blog: Working together to improve local services

NHS England (London region) Chief Nurse Caroline Alexander is campaigning for the co-creation of a new vision for London's community services

I am personally championing the creation of a shared vision for London's community services. This is a key priority for me this year. With a clear and shared direction, I strongly believe our services in the community can lead a positive transformation in our capital's health and social care.

I also passionately believe in unlocking the expertise and creativity held within our workforce. So throughout July 2014 I am asking nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and all frontline and support colleagues across health and social community services in London to join me in a ground-breaking project. 

People from an ever growing network of providers and commissioners across London are joining me to help create a shared vision by September. This will be a simple set of principles that will support and inspire:

 - Commissioners as they develop commissioning intentions around the procurement of community services. 

 - Providers undertaking transformation projects.

 - The implementation of the Better Care Fund.

Throughout May and June, we've had a research team analyse the latest practice, thinking and policy on community services. They've distilled their analysis into a simple animation and one page document to present a first draft vision and principles.  Using an award-winning crowdsourcing platform, I want as many colleagues as possible across London to challenge, develop and enhance the work to date - even rip it up and propose a complete alternative! The key is that together we can create a new, shared vision for the transformation of the capital's services in the community.

Leaders of organisations that deliver health and wellbeing in the capital have shared their views in our first stage research. Now they have formed a network to promote our innovative crowdsourcing method to engage our city's talented workforce. They, like me, believe that only you on the front line can really power the development of a new vision for London's community services. This network is being used to engage as wide a variety of staff, at all levels and in all community health and social care services, so that we can develop the highest possible quality vision together with the strongest possible buy-in. 

We want you to be part of this. 

We all do our utmost to deliver the best quality care for patients, but we've all experienced the frustration of not quite being able to deliver services tailored to a particular patient's needs because of blocks in the system. It might be that a patient ends up in A&E unnecessarily because an admin system doesn't allow you to organise for a community health nurse service to visit a patient in time, or a patient has to explain their same set of symptoms to different professionals over and over again. It's time we shared a common vision for how we stop exposing patients to these risks.

What we can't and won't do is design better community services without ideas, inspiration and leadership from the frontline. We must co-create a strong vision with principles designed to inspire the transformation of community services in London. A vision suggested and vetted by people who deliver frontline services and by the people who support them.

Our crowdsourcing approach enables all staff to present their ideas anonymously, not just senior managers and commissioners, this means will be able to help shape the vision together that will inspire the development of our services for users across the capital in the future.

A team of leaders from across London will be facilitated in August to analyse your contributions and to publish the results - a vision and principles - in September, 2014.

How will it work?

Powered by Clever Together, who specialise in facilitating innovation and change by engaging and empowering staff and stakeholders, the process will encourage community workers to submit ideas anonymously via a social-media style website, and vote on the suggestions of their peers. 

Contributors can click a Facebook-style 'Like' thumbs-up button to vote for an idea, but can also click a 'thumbs-down' button to demote an idea they're not so keen on.

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