2018 Community Services Conference review

Wednesday 7th November saw the team travel to Birmingham for our annual Community Services conference at the ICC. We were delighted to host exhibitors at the conference with whom our delegates could network, including the British Geriatrics Society, REACH and Hospital to Home from NHS England, and the Institute of Health Visiting.

Our first session and keynote address came from Professor Martin Vernon, National Clinical Director for Older People & Person Centred Integrated Care, NHS England. He presented NHS England’s priorities for the NHS, insight into community developments and the next steps for the long term plan. Echoing Claire Holditch’s introduction to the day, Martin corroborated a shift in focus to Community Services. Challenges faced in ageing and frailty is complex, with services and pathways needing to be responsive to individual’s needs; Martin’s closing thoughts were that there needs to be personalisation in our offer of community care.

Following an insightful presentation from NHSBN Programme Manager, Debbie Hibbert, on the Children’s Services from the Community Services project, we heard from Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. NHSBN data shows that school nursing teams are on the decline; despite this, NUTH explained their successful school nursing provision and the take-up rate in their area. Gemma Stienlet and Dawn Wilson brought a slice of entertainment to the conference, playing the NSPCC’s Pantosaurus campaign, encouraging children to ‘say no’ to inappropriate requests and preventing abuse.


We then moved onto Adult Services findings from the Community Services project, before hearing from two good practice speakers in this area. We welcomed Whittington Health NHS Trust to the lectern first, presenting on their capacity and demand management system in District Nursing. They delivered an overview of their eCommunity app, a benefit of which displays the location of teams to better assign cases, thus providing a lean service, improved continuity of care and greater patient safety.

Following this, Locala Community Partnerships CIC presented their modification of SystmOne to improve the assessment of wound care. Scott Turner demonstrated SystmOne in real time to show wound care management, before Joanne Keeling explained the benefits of the system for patients and staff.

The afternoon sessions began with an NHS England update from Barry James, Pricing Development Manager, on NHS England’s community healthcare currencies. This model is especially important in order to understand activity and resources required to deliver the outcomes people and clinicians need. The work in this area is developing regularly, and the new proposed currency models can support the prevention agenda in building healthy communities.

We moved onto part three of the Community Services findings, with Project Manager, Lucy Trubacik, presenting an overview of a selection of the 26 services covered in our Network project, before hearing good practice from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. BCUHB presented their work on unleashing the potential of physiotherapists to aid patient flow. Their pathway has shown a potential financial saving of £2.3 million in one financial year, 5% DNA rate, and <1% patients referred back to GP. To conclude their session, Anna Doran reiterated that skilled and independent physiotherapists in primary care can respond to up to 30% of patient demand, freeing up GPs and practice nurses.

Our penultimate session was led by Professor Maria Pia Fantini from the University of Bologna. The presentation focused on the response of community hospitals to the healthcare needs of elderly patients in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Community Hospitals in the region have a prescriptive admission and exclusion criteria, which is required to identify the best pathway and treatment for each patient.

The conference closed with a final presentation from NHSBN Director, Claire Holditch, on the Community Hospitals findings, with data being taken from the National Audit of Intermediate Care 2018. The bespoke and national summary reports for the Community Services project will be distributed in December, and will be sent to Project Leads, Membership Leads and CEOs.

Thank you to all delegates, exhibitors and speakers for their input into the event and the project. If you have any Community Services project queries, please contact Project Coordinator, Joylin Brockett.