South West AHSN Community Education Provider Networks webThe South West and West of England Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) led the establishment of local partnerships of primary care organisations (Community Education Provider Networks or CEPNs), which coordinate education and support workforce planning in the South West.

Between 2016 and 2018, the two AHSNs provided vital expertise, stakeholder relations and management know-how to deliver the programme outcomes in collaboration with Health Education England (HEE).

HEE was keen to utilise the skills, expertise and existing networks available through the AHSNs that would bring added benefit to the CEPNs. Previously, HEE had worked directly with CEPNs/training hubs (eg North, Central and East London CEPNs; East of England CEPNs) but this new approach with AHSNs in the South West region meant that HEE could step back, delegating direct leadership.

The AHSNs’ role was vital to help these new networks capitalise on existing primary care sustainability work streams and collaborate with local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Local Workforce Action Boards.

The project achieved complete coverage of the South West (Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; Devon; and Somerset) and West of England (Bath and North East Somerset; Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire; Swindon; Goloucestershire and Wiltshire) AHSN areas, creating eight CEPNs in total. All of the networks are now self-managing, which is a significant achievement in just two years.

77 primary care leads have been engaged in the South West CEPNs through the process. In the West of England, leadership of the CEPNs has been provided by primary care representatives; one of the networks is aligned with a GP Federation, providing links to practices across the Bath and North East Somerset locality.

“The South West AHSN is in a unique position to bring organisations together and to spread good practice as an honest broker in managing the six training hub projects in the South West. From the Health Education England South West viewpoint, having a consistent approach and identified project leadership via the AHSN has been very valuable.”

Paul Thomas, Head of School of Primary Care (Peninsula), Health Education England South West

 

“The CEPN workshops were very useful and the presentations were fantastic. Very useful for my work. Useful networking, well organised and relevant subjects.”

Practice Nurse, West of England

Challenge/problem identified

The Health Education England report, ‘The future of Primary Care, creating teams for tomorrow’, identified the lack of clinical, academic and leadership development for the primary care workforce, which it described as being fragmented and lacking the cohesion of larger providers such as acute trusts.

In 2015, Health Education England (HEE) issued a call for proposals to develop Community Education Provider Networks. The intention for CEPNs was to deliver HEE’s strategic aspiration of improving population health through the development of the current and future primary and community care workforce.

In the South West region, general practice networks responded to the call and consequently the South West and West of England AHSNs were commissioned to facilitate the set-up of CEPNs and to support them to become established in the region. Both AHSNs played an important role in translating the emerging national and regional CEPN vision to the successful bidders and helping them to set up in a way that enabled delivery on transformational activities. The AHSNs facilitated close alignment of the emerging networks with the STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Programmes).

Actions taken

The AHSNs provided the following functions in the development of the CEPNs:

Developing the network:

  • Ensuring geographical coverage and aligning with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and STP footprints
  • Developing CEPN business models
  • Governance assurance
  • Supporting recruitment.

Strategic and operational functions:

  • Project management including developing funding arrangements and a reporting function
  • Building the interface role with the wider health and care system
  • Enabling workforce planning through robust data.

Spread and adoption:

  • Building strong partnerships
  • Improving collaboration
  • Supporting improvement and innovation.

CEPNs provide a new model for system leadership and infrastructure that individual services would be unable to manage and sustain. The CEPN regional network enables shared learning and dissemination of best practice, as well as connecting clinicians to other people, networks and resources that can support improvement and innovation in health care.

Impacts / outcomes

Each CEPN consists of a range of primary and community care providers and stakeholders, and delivers the following national functions:

  1. Supporting workforce planning and development to respond to local needs and to enable the redesign of services within primary care and the community to better support general practice.
  2. Improving education capability and capacity in primary and community settings, through the development of multi-professional educators and the creation of additional learner placements.
  3. Improving education quality and governance, acting as a local coordinator of education and training for primary and community care to support general practice.

The development of collaborative networks of service and education providers working together, in a defined and coordinated manner, across the total geography of the south west region supported the delivery of population health outcomes and transformed the landscape of primary care.

South West AHSN Community Education Provider Networks poster-map web77 primary care leads have been engaged in the South West CEPNs through the process. In the West of England, leadership of the CEPNs has been provided by primary care representatives; one of the networks is aligned with a GP Federation, providing links to practices across the Bath and North East Somerset locality.

The South West AHSN successfully set up three CEPNs, aligned to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Somerset STP footprints. Five emerged in the West of England: Bath and North East Somerset; Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire; Swindon; Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The two AHSNs worked in a partnership with HEE South West to support the spread of best practice and to ensure consistency of delivery of the CEPN objectives across the wider region.

The role of the AHSN was pivotal in the spread and adoption of this national HEE initiative. Both AHSNs were already strongly linked in with stakeholders working in primary and community care, so they were able to complete the project well within the project timeframe, and ensure they were embedded and sustainable.

West-of-England-CEPNs-WEB

Plans for the future

CEPNs provide a new model for system leadership and infrastructure that individual services would be unable to manage and sustain. The CEPNs regional network enabled shared learning and dissemination of best practice, as well as connecting clinicians to other people and networks and to resources that can support improvement and innovation in health care.

Which national clinical or policy priorities does this example address?

  • Care and Quality
  • Funding and Efficiency
  • Health and Well Being

Start and end dates

April 2016 to March 2018

Project contacts for further information

Magdalena Wood, Partnership Director, South West AHSN
E: magdalena.wood@swahsn.com

Sian Jones, Primary Care Programme Lead, West of England AHSN
E: sian.jones@weahsn.net