Engage for success

Citizens Forum discussion

The final evaluation report of the Older People’s Programme highlights the importance of effective partnership working and recognises strides made by partners, staff and citizens within Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care to strengthen existing relationships and develop new ones.

Building relationships and focusing on better engagement with community and primary care has been key to bringing about change within the Older People’s Programme (OPP), according to a report produced by The King’s Fund.

The three-year independent evaluation involved interviews and focus groups with a range of OPP stakeholders and staff to assess impact and identify supporting factors and barriers to its success.

It concluded that strong leadership and partnerships created between the organisations involved in implementing the programme had the biggest impact, and will be essential as local health and care systems continue to transform.

Part of Southwark and Lambeth Integrated Care (SLIC), the OPP began in 2012 and ran until 2015 with the vision of ‘increasing the value of care’ for local people so they could live healthy and happier lives, placing more emphasis on prevention, early identification of individual needs and early response, and supporting patients to take charge of their own care and conditions – key factors in the wider SLIC programme and the move towards integrated care in Southwark and Lambeth more generally.

The report recognises the progress the programme made in laying foundations for integrated care locally, noting that it pre-dated the NHS Five Year Forward View which has given new models of care a key role in the future direction of the health service, and concluding that “the work of the OPP has permanently changed the delivery of care to older people in Southwark and Lambeth.”

Particular successes included the programme to develop primary care leaders, which helped to place primary care ‘in the driving seat’ for embedding projects based in general practice, and ‘much improved’ engagement with citizens.

However, the evaluation also made clear that the OPP was not without its challenges and that there are lessons to be learned. It made a number of recommendations, including clarifying the membership of the Citizens’ Board and its future role, and maintaining the commitment to supporting emerging leaders in primary care. 

In its conclusion, the report stated that “SLIC partners should be encouraged about what has been achieved – particularly the strengthened relationships at various levels,” and stressed that in future “shared ownership of integrated care by the partner organisations and stronger staff and citizen engagement will be key.”

The King’s Fund recommendations will feed into the End of SLIC Report, which will be published following the winding up of the SLIC phase of the integrated care partnership in March 2016. Local health and care organisations, including citizen representatives, are now co-creating a new strategic partnership which will take forward the learning and achievements of SLIC from April 2016.

You can read The King's Fund final report of the evaluation of the process of change in the Older People’s Programme in the documents section of the website.