What’s the role of the Respiratory Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) in the East of England?
Lianne: The Respiratory SCN is part of the NHS improvement architecture. The role of the SCN is about supporting our stakeholders, in particular the CCGs with implementing change. In the East of England we are fairly unique in having an SCN for Respiratory.
We are working with our region’s CCGs and other stakeholders to help them identify issues along the respiratory pathway that impact negatively on their respiratory outcomes and help them find solutions. We also have a few projects that impact on the region as a whole.
East of England CCGs have prioritised respiratory in their operational plans for 2015/16.
From your experience, what are some of the key factors to working successfully across a region?
Lianne: A lot of it is about networking; identifying, mobilising and enthusing local leaders as we wouldn’t be effective without getting them engaged and involved. These local champions are often involved with innovative practice and we want to know about it as it may help others to move forward. It is also about providing leadership to localities where change needs to happen, but progress is slow or inhibited by lack of engagement of others or lack of local intelligence as to the how.
Our initial work has also been connecting with local lead commissioners, help them make sense of local respiratory data, identify local strengths and weaknesses and help them develop improvement plans. Supporting CCGs to develop local communities of practice or networks has helped local engagement and secured momentum. Establishing these relationships has been quite a challenge as there’s been a lot of change with the associated movement of staff who have come and gone.
So how is the East of England Respiratory Strategic Clinical Network structured?
Lianne: We’re hosted by the East Anglia area team and report to the medical director here locally. We consist of a full-time manager and three part-time clinical directors.
We connect through local respiratory networks, which exist in the majority of our CCGs and work more intensely with a few targeted CCGs on a variety of projects.
Every six months we hold Respiratory Commissioning events where we invite our key stakeholders to come and learn more about how we’ve progressed and hear their feedback – we’ve found these really useful. We also run Regional Clinical Network on Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Home Oxygen and lead a regional user group with the British Lung Foundation (BLF).y advice would be to firstly work in partnership with others and collaborate on programmes of work that have a national drive and look for relevant projects you can connect with and piggyback onto.
My advice would be to firstly work in partnership with others and collaborate on programmes of work that have a national drive and look for relevant projects you can connect with and piggyback onto
Can you tell me about the regional breathlessness campaign?
Lianne: The regional breathlessness campaign is a public awareness campaign led jointly by the Department of Health and Public Health England, aimed at improving early diagnosis of various serious conditions presenting with breathlessness. The campaign design is based on the success of the ‘Be clear on cancer’ campaign and raises awareness of the symptom breathlessness, telling the public not to ignore it and alerting people to seek advice where appropriate.
We run this campaign in the East of England in February for five weeks after a successful smaller pilot elsewhere in the UK.
In support of the campaign the SCN developed a breathlessness algorithm to support primary care make the right diagnosis. This tool has been widely circulated and can be found here.
So what’s next for the East of England Network?
Lianne: Our Respiratory SCN was funded as a two-year programme and we’re one year in, so we need to make sure that we can provide evidence that what we’ve done so far has been successful and of benefit to both our patients and the CCGs. Then of course we need to look at securing funding beyond March 2016 and hopefully continue our work beyond that.
Almost all our East of England CCGs have indicated in their operational plans for 2015/16 to prioritise improving respiratory outcomes. This indicates that despite the lack of a national respiratory focus CCGs are keen to improve their local outcomes and we are keen to help them to do this. Lots of exciting opportunities!
pulmonary rehabilitation places
Now you’ve been in this role for a year – so what do you most enjoy about your job?
Lianne: I like working with enthusiastic positive people who are really keen to make a difference; we’re meeting a lot of passionate respiratory colleagues across the region, whether they are clinicians, commissioners or another kind of stakeholder. These people are all keen to improve care for our patients and this has been very inspiring.
Additionally, the work has been very varied which I’ve loved – working with different groups of stakeholders; commissioners, clinicians and of course also patient organisations. Our projects span the whole respiratory pathway, so it’s been great to work within areas that I haven’t really had any experience of so far. There are so many highlights: meeting new people, sharing new ideas and really seeing a lot of the great work that’s going on. And having the opportunity to help spread the word about that work has been fantastic.
It is unbelievable how many people are really enthusiastic about their job, constantly working hard to make a difference to patients locally. This good work needs promoting and spreading where appropriate
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own programme?
Lianne: My advice would be to firstly work in partnership with others and collaborate on programmes of work that have a national drive and look for relevant projects you can connect with and piggyback onto. There are bound to be exiting projects that are already in full swing that will impact positively on people with respiratory illness. For example the Parity of Esteem agenda in Mental Health and the potential opportunities impacting on respiratory care.
Secondly, identify local movers and shakers; these are the people that can and will make things happen. Lead, enthuse and mobilise them.
Finally I would say it’s about finding out what’s good and what’s worked already – and drawing from that expertise and experience. It is unbelievable how many people are really enthusiastic about their job, constantly working hard to make a difference to patients locally. This good work needs promoting and spreading where appropriate.
Thanks very much Lianne and good luck.
Lianne: Thank you too.
Contact details, downloads and information on the East of England Respiratory SCN can be found here