By Max Clarke

Teams of clinicians in the South East Coast region will go head to head today in pitching their innovative ideas to a Dragon’s Den style panel as part of the Transforming Community Services Multi Professional Leadership Challenge.

The challenges are open to all clinicians within the NHS who have a local idea which could improve primary or community care services within their area.

Each event brings together the skills of clinicians in how best to design and deliver high quality, seamless care, including child and family centred public health from the beginning of life to end of life care.

Up to 13 different teams from each Strategic Health Authority, made up of GPs, allied health professionals and nurses, will compete for a regional prize of £50,000 to implement their idea.

Teams will present their business case to a panel of experts in the style of Dragon’s Den who will assess the teams on their leadership skills and the validity of their idea. The panels will be made up of credible local professionals from the NHS such as directors for finance, innovation, nursing and quality as well as patient representatives. Regional winners will also be invited to a final event to share their learning and best practice ideas.

Public Health Minister, Anne Milton said:

“These challenges are a great way to show off and bring out the new ideas and improvements that I know the NHS has. If we want to improve patient outcomes then community services need to be designed, developed and provided by the people who know the needs of patients best - the nurses, doctors and other health professionals.

“Good community services are vital in helping patients recover or providing them with essential care, from health promotion to managing long term conditions. I look forward to hearing about their ideas to improve services in their area and raise the standards of patient care.”

The teams have come together from acute trusts, mental health, social care and community organisations and will present their idea on how to improve a service.

For example, at the South East Coast event today, ideas range from improving clinical care for patients with heart failure to developing services to support young people who are morbidly obese.

All ideas have come from talking to patients or other professionals about care in their local communities. On the day itself the ideas will be turned into a robust business case that take into account local priorities and the best use of resources.

Each regional winner will be supported for a year to develop, implement and deliver their idea by the local region. All the teams who take part in the day will have the benefit of working with other clinical leads including local GPs and will have benefited from translating their idea into a viable business case. All these ideas can then be used by the new local GP consortia to inform service improvement and enhance the patient experience.

Dame Christine Beasley, Chief Nursing Officer said:

“Patients and communities view and judge their overall experience by the quality of nursing care they receive and I am pleased to see the high level of involvement from nurses in these regional events.

“Strong nursing leadership in any part of the NHS is highly valuable and I encourage nurses to get involved in events like these so that they can work with other professionals in the community and improve outcomes for patients.”