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New National Health Service (NHS) and Canterbury Health System partnership to benefit patients

The NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) is teaming up with health sector experts from the Canterbury Health System to support new care models.

The Canterbury Health system focus on a person-centric, whole of health system approach has gained a lot of attention from other health systems internationally. Canterbury remains one of the few health systems anywhere that is able to measure and demonstrate improvements in health outcomes - now consistently over a 10 year period.

Canterbury has been clear that it needs "a whole system to work for the whole system to work" and this approach has demonstrated what health systems can deliver. The Canterbury Clinical Network, along with organised primary and community care, a relentless focus on data-informed decisions, a secondary care sector that has continued to meet every challenge thrown at it despite the impossible pressures resulting from the earthquakes. The combined growth and development of HealthPathways and HealthOne (the South Island’s electronic patient health record) have enabled the Canterbury Health System to clock up some significant achievements.

The Canterbury health system has come under the microscope on a number of occasions and we’ve hosted leaders from other health systems from around the world interested in what’s happening here.  The Kings Fund has written two reports and the achievements of our integrated health system were also recognised when Canterbury won The Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) Treasury Award for Excellence in Improving Public Value through Business Transformation – through the Canterbury Clinical Network-led transformation of health services through a patient-centric, clinically-led alliance approach.

This local and international recognition has led to sustained interest from others who face similar challenges of meeting increased demand, and doing more with the same amount of resource. Our relationship with NECS came about as a result of the work we’ve been doing with South Tyneside in the UK.

NECS has formed a five year partnership with Streamliners New Zealand Limited and Canterbury DHB to share knowledge and capability with other organisations committed to improving the effectiveness of health and social care services through collaboration and patient-centred design. The learning will utilise the experience from across the Canterbury Health System which has been on a 10 year journey applying a whole-of-system approach to the provision of health and social care.

The agreement is the second NHS connection for Canterbury DHB which has been working with South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group who adopted the collaborative alliancing way of working, including developing localised HealthPathways last year.

The aims of the NECS partnership are to help support emerging new practices and system-wide working to transform the design and delivery of new models of integrated care which will benefit patients. The partnership is for five years to cover projects across England. Canterbury DHB and NECS are starting the partnership off with initiatives to accelerate and share knowledge from both organisations.

Our earlier work with NECS and South Tyneside gave us confidence we were working with like-minded organisations who are committed to a high-trust model where innovation and improvement is clinician-led and management enabled. We’re delighted that some features of our journey and our health system will be transferrable to the NHS, and that we will learn from them in return.

HealthPathways has been a key enabler in Canterbury’s whole-of-system journey and is now helping 40 other health systems in NZ, Australia and the UK on similar journeys. We’ve enjoyed working with NECS to assist the South Tyneside team with their implementation of HealthPathways, and look forward to other NHS regions joining the HealthPathways Community.

The first phase of knowledge exchange is planned to take place later this month and will utilise technology such as video conferencing and webinars to facilitate planning and learning sessions with our colleagues in the UK and representatives from NECS will also be visiting Canterbury. Sessions will cover subjects such as alliancing and operating in a high trust environment, co-designing HealthPathways that are best for patients and best for the health system.

I look forward to seeing the mutual benefits that will come from this partnership.

David Meates
Chief Executive, Canterbury and West Coast District Health Board