As part of the development of our project looking at the capabilities of the Leeds Universities in supporting the NHS organisations and Leeds City Council with health and care modelling and evaluation, we sought the insight of Richard Jeavons, NHS IMAS consultant to assist us with the first phase of scoping. Richard has written this very insightful piece for the IMAS newsletter about his assignment with us. We have kindly been given permission to reproduce it here:
“As the NHS is challenged to work collaboratively to achieve sustainability and transformation, what part should independent evaluation play in supporting what will be major programmes of change?
This was the question behind my recent assignment for the Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP), a strategic collaboration between the city’s universities, NHS and local authority.
The assignment was triggered by a recurring observation that the universities were being approached by the NHS for independent advice and help but at the same time, the local NHS appeared to be spending significant resources with other third parties for independent evaluation and analysis.
The assignment sought to answer two questions:
The assignment engaged the full range of interested parties and, through analysis of the information collected, exposed the critical gaps in capability and capacity as well as the opportunities for an offer. The working hypothesis that the NHS already spends significantly in this area was unfounded. It was replaced by finding that the local health and care system knows it needs to undertake more analysis and evaluation but does not have the necessary in-house capacity, common framework or approach to execute.
Equally, the universities have the relevant capabilities but not the business model to respond effectively with capacity. The emerging proposition and next steps and actions were formulated accordingly, taking account of the existing strength of the local partnership and the experience of successful models of working elsewhere.
Reflecting on the assignment, there seemed to be some simple points of learning for the NHS as a whole.
Firstly, that without the discipline of semi-structured dialogue, there could be no common understanding of what the needs for evaluation and analysis might be. Secondly, that the case for evaluation as part of major change programmes such as those envisaged as part of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) is well documented but turning theory into effective and productive practice needs both leadership and the application of relevant expertise.”
NHS IMAS offers National Health Service (NHS) organisations that need short or medium term support, the means to access the management expertise that exists throughout the NHS. To find out more, visit their website or follow them on Twitter: @NHSIMAS