Helpforce Champions 2023 Winner - George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust
6th October 2023
WINNER for Volunteer Collaboration of the Year 2023
The Warwickshire North Back to Health pathway (BTHP) project emerged from the amazing support George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust (GEH) received from volunteers during the pandemic. When they heard about the variety and impact of the volunteers, Warwickshire North Place Based Partnership (WNP) asked GEH to grow the capacity of volunteers to support beyond GEH into local communities.
GEH partnered with Helpforce to create the BTHP pathway; a unique and ambitious project that enables impactful and enjoyable volunteering with the aim of delivering key targets for the local health system including addressing health inequalities.
The landscape of health has changed with the introduction of ICSs and place-based partnerships. As an anchor organisation, GEH is considering how they can support patients before treatment and how they can help patients recover and live well after they leave care. At the heart of the BTHP is their ambition to build healthier, better-connected communities. Volunteers are the golden thread, building connections, providing practical support, signposting people to help, building a sense of belonging and creating a culture of compassion and resilience.
In addition to qualitative measures (e.g., volunteer, staff and patient surveys, case studies etc) the project is underpinned by a business case that aims to reduce demand on GEH and the wider health system. They will achieve sustainable funding through demonstrating impact on quantitative measures:
- Reducing readmissions
- Increasing patient flow and speeding up discharge
- Reducing DNAs
- Reducing unnecessary A&E visits, Ambulance call outs, GP visits
- Saving staff time
- Improving patient outcomes Evaluation is supported by Helpforce’s Insight and Impact service.
They have demonstrated scalability of the project by initially working with two of the five PCNs in Warwickshire North where they proved the concept and developed the tools and guidance needed to extend the service.
They have now expanded the project to cover all five PCNs and are working with Helpforce to package up the service so that it can be adopted and adapted by other health organisations and systems. This will include service specifications, role descriptions, training models, example promotional material etc.
They know from patient, volunteer, and partner feedback that the service is working. By taking an asset-based approach, building on existing strengths they have, with limited resources, been able to build new relationships across the region that are allowing for a scaling up of impactful volunteering roles.
Involving different stakeholders has been essential. They have:
- held repeated community meetings involving multiple stakeholders
- effectively engaged with multiple teams in GEH
- significant oversight from WN Place board
- established a steering board of multiple stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sectors
- involved volunteers in every step
- developed scripts for the contact centre
- designed new services, including outpatient reminder calls, post discharge calls and calls to ensure they have information about patients before surgery
- conducted surveys monitoring the impact of the project on staff, patients and volunteers.