To analyse the experience of a pilot programme designed to shift care from hospital to the community.Background
The white paper, Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, published in England in 2006, set out a vision for the future of primary care and community services. A key component of this vision is to provide care closer to home. The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement established a pilot programme in five field test sites to explore the scope for bringing about shifts in care from hospital to the community. This paper reports the results of the evaluation of the programme.Methods
A comparative case study design was used including interviews with key stakeholders at different points during the pilot programme, participation in discussion groups, documentary analysis, and collation of activity and output statistics. By comparing evidence drawn from 14 projects in the five field test sites, the evaluation was able to identify the impact of different factors on the progress of the projects.Findings
All of the projects made some progress in taking forward their plans to shift care, although there were wide variations in what had been achieved at the end of the test and learn phase. Key factors influencing progress were the existence of a receptive context for change, project focus, organisational leadership, project management, stakeholder analysis, clinical engagement and leadership, overcoming barriers to change, aligned incentives, training and support, measuring and monitoring progress, and the timescale for change. A critical requirement in programmes of this kind is ‘getting the basics right’ through dogged attention to project and change management. Also important is ensuring that the evidence on change management and quality improvement is acted on by those leading change programmes.