Author's Posts

Last week I learned that you cannot podcast under a tree in the wind. I was very disappointed when I tried to edit it to the sound of gale force winds and tinny voices in the background. There was just enough sound to create a blog from it, so with apologies to Katie, Andy, and Sangeetha, here are your words rather than you voices. This blog describes how we are starting to introduce a Wellbeing Team into a GP Practice.

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Working out how to measure the right things can be difficult. It’s easy to fall into the trap of counting what’s easy and missing what matters. That seems to be especially true when it comes to measuring outcomes, where whatever we measure usually feels like it only gives a glimpse of what’s important but not enough to know that we’ve actually met our  purpose.

In the work I’ve been doing recently to create new Wellbeing Teams, I’ve been  focussed on finding a way past this problem. I want the information we use in these teams and in support of them, to help us pay attention to the right things in ways that are open and collaborative. Ideally, I want to find ways to do this that are simple and engaging too. Working with Andy from Easier Inc, one of the ways I’ve been exploring how to do this has led to a very unusual use of the word ‘clean’.

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“What would Wellbeing Teams and self-management look like in mental health?”

Carey Bamber is my asked me to think about this, and to share ideas through a webinar. Carey is  the Policy Adviser and Member Support with the Association of Mental Health Providers. A couple of months later we were sat together in my office managing technical challenges in delivering a webinar on the subject. I shared how Wellbeing Teams were working to support older people at home, and we talked about some potential implications for mental health support.

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I am a bit of a quality nerd. I did a masters in Quality Assurance in Health and Social Care at Leeds  in the 1980’s. I would enthusiastically tell people about my course to be met with facial expressions of mild disbelief and comments that questioned whether anyone could find QA interesting.  Mark Cannon, a colleague from Here introduced me to Andy Brogan from EasierInc, as someone who could be helpful around systems, quality improvement and governance in Wellbeing Teams. I heard that as an opportunity to talk to someone who could be as fascinated about quality and systems as I am.  I was right.

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I am learning about new models and ways to deliver support to people at home. Over the last few weeks I have been learning about co-operatives and employee ownership and what this could mean for Wellbeing Teams. Wellbeing Teams are a social enterprise, which is a “business that has primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”.

This week I am looking at community ownership and community businesses, so naturally the first place I looked was Power to Change’s website. The website says that there are four features to a community business. They are locally rooted, trading for the benefit of the community, accountable to the community, and have broad community impact.  Here are some ways that I can see how these could apply to Wellbeing Teams.

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Co-operatives have been around since the 19th Century, and still feel relevant today. I am interested in them because of my work with Wellbeing Teams: both share a common thread of self-management.

There are some exciting co-ops emerging in health and care, and there are three examples that colleagues of mine have established. Neatly, we also think there are three reasons to take a closer look at both co-operatives and Wellbeing Teams.

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Yesterday I met with colleagues from Macmillann, to share how Wellbeing Teams are working, and what could be possible in relation to people experiencing cancer. I am excited that the next two Wellbeing Teams are getting started within GP practices. We think there are five ways that Community Circles and Wellbeing Teams can support people to come home from hospital or to avoid hospital admission. Here is a summary of the approaches, and what we have tried so far.

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This morning I read ‘How we can start a social care revolution in seven easy steps’ by Katie Johnson, KPMG, in the Guardian Social Care Network. I agree with her ideas, but not that it is easy. If it was easy, it would have been done by now. I am one of the many, many people who want to see this change, and be part of this change. Here I want to share what I am see my colleagues doing to actually move towards the steps she describes. I want to call out the people who are making it happen, and what else we need – some of the detail to deliver the big ideas.

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