Surfing the 2nd Wave………………………….!!
It has been a long and, at times, a somewhat trying journey to get to where we are currently but we are thrilled to be surfing along with the 2nd wavers and can’t wait to see where the next 17 months take us!!
It all started off, almost two years ago when we were told by a friend about this project. We knew immediately what a great opportunity this would be for us and knew we wanted to get involved. The problem was, not knowing how. We knew a bid would need to be put forward but were unsure as to how this should be done or written and we knew the writing of it would be challenging therefore we called for back up in the form of Leo Lewis, previously of the Institute of Rural Health, who has stood by our side from that moment on. Leo offered us the advice and support we needed to write the bid to secure a positive result and has continued supporting and assisting us to the point we are at today!!
After a successful bid and a welcome to the project, we packed our bags and headed to the Market Place for the 2nd Consortium Meeting which opened our eyes massively and we learnt a lot. The model that NHS24 in Scotland had adopted was looked at in great depth and being a 1st waver, they were oceans ahead of us but it was there that friendships were formed. Since then, the team at NHS24 have not only been friends but have been great mentors also. They have assisted us, supported us, answered questions and generally been there when we have needed them, we most certainly would not be where we are today without them.
Having such close links to a partner has been great, it has given us the opportunity to take advantage of their learning without duplicating work. We can only hope that we will have the opportunity to be a ‘helper’ to future participants!!
Being such a small department and having no knowledge on EU deliverables, I don’t think any of our team truly understood actually how much time and man hours would be required to make this a success. We realised the workload and effort would be great but if successful, the outcomes would be greater so we had to buckle up and get started.
After much research and deliberation throughout the starting months, it was agreed that we would use a programme called ‘Beating the Blues’ and decided to very much follow in the footsteps of NHS24 with regards to the service model.
With a programme in place and a rough idea as to how we would run the service, it was time to engage with the healthcare professionals to get them on board, hopefully!! During the initial engagements we were met with very different reactions from the different teams, we were faced with scepticism, intrigue and positivity. We would not allow anything to dampen our spirits and we continued on nevertheless. The fact that Beating the Blues was recommended by NICE leaned heavily in our favour and slowly we managed to get some of our senior clinicians on board. ‘Training’ days were arranged to give an introduction to the Beating the Blues programme, our service model was worked on and improved, continuous engagement meetings were set up with the relevant teams and through this we managed to decrease the scepticism and negativity and replace it with a lot more positivity. Things were looking up!!
We went ‘Live’ in March 2015 and received our first patient referral on the 27th with much anticipation. Since then we have received a steady stream of referrals each week with our current patient total at 102 so we look well on our way to our 500 person target. There have been areas of our service model that we have changed or ‘tweaked’, after receiving feedback from both patients and healthcare professionals, to ensure a smoother service. We have continued to engage with our clinicians and healthcare professionals to ensure the positivity is kept at a high for those who currently refer in to the service but also to try to encourage others to use the service!!
We are confident in the success of the service and the project!!
So, what have we learnt so far?……………………
1. Sharing is Learning – The consortium meeting in Brussels really made us understand that there is value in collaborating and makes way for good working relationships both at home and across the waters!!
2. To be early is to be on time – Setting up a timetable and sticking to it has proven invaluable, it has ensured we have ‘time in stock’, we have had time to deliver successfully without leaving anything to the ‘Last Minute’!!
3. The expert at anything, was once a beginner – We wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for the help we received from our Scottish counterparts in NHS24, they shared with us their knowledge and experiences and have always taken the time to answer our queries.
4. Pay it forward – We have received a lot of help and support over the start of the project and now hope we can ‘Pay it Forward’ by assisting and supporting any other partners who require this.
How are rest of you 2nd wave surfers getting on??