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MusculoskeletalFeb 27, 2023

Company pioneers mandatory training that physio says puts patients 'at the heart of what we do'

Connect Health has unveiled an ambitious plan to ensure physiotherapists and other staff members follow training programmes in personalised care.

The Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based community healthcare company is working alongside the Personalised Care Institute (PCI) on the initiative. The modules will be delivered by the Connect Health Academy, the company’s enhanced learning and development division.

Connect Health was impressed by the results of a pilot scheme it ran in its Darlington musculoskeletal (MSK) service in 2021, which led to an increase in the proportion of patients who said they would recommend the service to friends and family members (up from about 80 to 91 per cent).

Photo Credit: Connect Health
Heart to heart: personalised care should become 'business as usual' in the coming year

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Andrew Cuff: personalised care 'champion'

Physiotherapist Andrew Cuff is head of MSK at Connect Health and a PCI personalised care ambassador. He said: ‘I am proud to be in a role where I can champion personalised care – making the case across Connect Health and the wider NHS – in order to encourage uptake of the PCI’s training resources and support.

‘As an ambassador, I’m committed to improving and sustaining the delivery of evidence informed, personalised, high-quality healthcare, with a reignited and structured focus on putting the patient at the heart of what we do. For all Connect colleagues – not just clinical colleagues – undergoing training in personalised care, this ethos will be embedded across all organisation functions.’

Healthcare practitioners will complete five personalised care modules as part of their mandatory training. In addition, all non-clinical staff in the Connect Health group must complete the ‘core skills in personalised care’ module.

Leadership and co-production

Graeme Wilkes, Connect Health’s chief medical officer, said: ‘By working with the PCI we are demonstrating our significant commitment to ensuring that every decision made puts the patient at the centre.

Dr Wilkes noted: ‘For personalised care to truly work, simply attending a course is not enough. A combination of strong leadership, co-production and workforce engagement is needed, and by providing specific training for all staff, and providing that leadership, we are well on the way to delivering outcomes that really matter to the people that we work with.’

As an ambassador, I’m committed to improving and sustaining the delivery of evidence informed, personalised, high-quality healthcare, with a reignited and structured focus on putting the patient at the heart of what we do [Andrew Cuff]

Connect Health is convinced that giving patients care and support plans helps them to self-manage while awaiting surgery or treatment in the community.

Emma Hyde, the PCI’s clinical director, said: ‘Evidence shows that personalised care delivers better health outcomes and improved experiences for patients and healthcare professionals.'

Dr Hyde added: 'It was really pleasing to see the excellent results in Connect Health’s pilot and that mirrors the brilliant feedback we have received from the 35,000-plus healthcare professionals that have now completed our modules.’

The comprehensive model of personalised care brings together six evidence-based programmes – each of which is defined by a standard set of practices.

Connect Health launched the programme last autumn, focusing on five modules

  • shared decision making
  • personal care and support planning
  • enabling choice (including legal rights)
  • social prescribing and community-based support
  • supported self-management


What is the PCI?

The PCI was created in 2020 with a remit to train 75,000 healthcare professionals, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to make personalised care ‘business as usual’ by 2023-4. The PCI is supported by more than 40 royal colleges and professional healthcare organisations and its quality-assured 30-60 minute eLearning modules – available on the PCI training hub – were added to Health Education England’s Roadmap to Practice for first contact practitioners in 2021. 

For further information on the Connect Health Academy, visit: https://www.connecthealth.co.uk/academy

Connect Health Careers: https://www.connecthealth.co.uk/careers

Personalised Care Institute: https://www.personalisedcareinstitute.org.uk

Author: Ian A McMillan
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