Evaluating a vanguard new care model

Wakefield Council, Wakefield CCG, and a range of local provider organisations are working together to establish a more integrated approach to the delivery of locality-based community services. This approach has been based on:

·Three co-located health and social care teams (in Hemsworth, Castleford, and Lupset)

·Additional third sector input from Age UK and Carers Wakefield

·An emergent process of thinking about and working on new ways of working

We were commissioned at the beginning of 2014 to undertake a long term independent evaluation of this initiative. This process concluded in early 2017, and involved, spread over this period:

·680 structured interviews with patients / service users (working in partnership with the local Healthwatch)

·50 depth interviews with carers

·200 semi-structured interviews with staff

·Analysis of local quantitative activity data

·6-monthly formative reports and staff engagement/feedback sessions

Our main findings, supported by a very large volume of both quantitative and qualitative data provided during the course of the project, were that Connecting Care:

·has led to improvements in the co-ordination, responsiveness, and quality of services experienced by many patients, and some, but not all carers

·is a change welcomed by staff providing the services

·has not had any clear impact on use of bed-based services, and therefore no clear overall financial impact

Client commendation

"It's been an absolute pleasure working with Mental Health Strategies for the past three years. They were totally reliable -  which is so important to me. I felt totally confident that everything would be delivered at the right time and in the right way. They couldn't have done anything better and I can't praise them enough.

The evaluation work undertaken by the team was instrumental to Wakefield being selected as one of only six national Vanguard MCP sites. There has been national interest in the work we've done in Wakefield and we've been called upon to speak at a number of national events, share our work with other vanguards and been held up as an example of national best practice.  We did over 1,000 interviews as part of this project including nearly 700 with patients and service users.  Carrying out this number of interviews exceptional and has shaped future work, we've demonstrated that service integration gives patients/service user better outcomes."

Anna Middlemiss, Deputy Director of Public Health, Strategy & Support Team