Solihull Together is all about providing the best health and care services we can for our residents. Transforming our health and care system is hard work and involves understanding the complex, and sometimes messy picture of local services. Since early 2017, a dedicated team has been working on this, to deliver the Solihull Together programme plan.
Led by Programme Director, Helen Kelly, the team brings together skills and experience from different parts of the health and care system as well as project management and communications & engagement support.
Working across organisational boundaries, the team has a whole system perspective. Testing out new ways of working, sharing what they learn from the Solihull Together projects and helping colleagues to make stronger connections with different parts of the system, the team plays a key role in delivering Solihull Together’s ambition.
Life before Solihull Together ...I have a clinical background nursing (acute and community) and health visiting, commissioning and operational roles – including joint Children’s & Maternity, Head of Public Health Commissioning, Strategic lead for Frail Elderly.
My role...I’m the programme director and lead the Solihull Together team. I am accountable to the Solihull Together Board.
Biggest challenge...During my career I’ve met many people who have received and deliver excellent services – but sometimes this is achieved in spite of ‘the system’! In the future I would like to be able to say that people receive and deliver excellent services as a result of the system! This is what Solihull Together is all about and I am passionate about making it happen. The biggest challenge is around keeping the ‘system’ view that will enable people’s needs to be met holistically and will mean that Solihull lives up to being one of the best places to live and work in the UK.
Life before Solihull Together.....I’ve worked in the NHS and Local Authority, predominantly in Public Health and Commissioning, in a number of strategic, operational and management roles.
My role....I’m project manager for the Prevention and Early Intervention workstream/Community Wellbeing. We want Solihull people to live longer and in good health, with maximum independence. Through Community Wellbeing our focus is to support residents to look after their own health and wellbeing and be active members of their families and communities, helping them to access services when they need them and reducing demand for services at the point of crisis.
Biggest challenge........This is a long game. Many of the benefits of our commitment and investment in prevention and early intervention will be realised across the ‘system’ and may not be seen for a number of years. We need to focus on understanding the evidence which is emerging and ensure we integrate services to optimize this investment.
What I’m learning....... There are many examples of prevention and early intervention initiatives happening within our communities which support self care and independence. As the statutory health and care sector we need to learn from this work and enable it to thrive.
Life before Solihull Together....I’ve held a number of senior managerial, operational and strategic roles within the health service. My background is mainly in the acute sector but I have experience of working across different sectors in the NHS in London.
My role ...I’m project manager for the Integrated Decision Hub (IDH). The health, social and voluntary care sector can be a confusing landscape for healthcare professionals to navigate. I want to provide clarity around this, ultimately allowing patients to be directed to the most appropriate service for them in a timely way.
Biggest challenge... It’s the barriers that are put up around individual organisations and sometimes services within those organisations. Our approach to the project is inclusive and by involving the staff in the outset I’m hopeful that they will see the benefits in breaking down these barriers.
What I’m learning ...Most interesting for me in this role, is having the opportunity to see the ‘system’ as a whole and not be internally focussed on a single organisation. This enables a bird’s eye view where you can start to recognise the potential duplication and gaps in service. The working relationship between the partners in Solihull and the appetite for change is so positive. I feel that we have a real opportunity to challenge traditional thinking and implement some innovative solutions.
Life before Solihull Together .....I’ve had a variety of technical and management roles within the NHS and commercial sector. My main focus in the NHS has been within Primary Care.
My role....I’ve actually got two roles. As Digital Project Manager across the programme I offer advice and guidance on how to bring the digital element to the all our projects, aiming to share and utilise existing solutions.
I also project manage “Activating Solihull”, the project previously known as PAM (or Patient Activation Measure). Patient activation is a measure of a person's skills, confidence and knowledge to manage their own health. Activating Solihull is a system that works alongside individuals to enable them to be part of the team rather than the recipient of care. We are in the early stage of this project and currently working with a small number of colleagues to scope how Activating Solihull can be used in their area of work.
Biggest challenge ....to ensure staff can access the information they need from a multitude of clinical systems, to see how systems can be work together with each other. This will support staff in having the right information about their service users or patients at the right time, meaning that people only tell their story once and hopefully improving the level of service they receive.
Anything else we should know - I have recently got married so you may know me as Kate Millichip. I am also a nutrition fanatic and recently completed my diploma with the College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Life before Solihull Together...I’ve worked in a number of areas across health care, most recently with Primary Care in Solihull but also in the acute sector and briefly in a nursing home.
My role...is to project manage SupportUhome. This is a collection of services, which help people with complex needs either to stay at home or return home from hospital in a safe, timely way and ensure that following a crisis they are supported to be as independent as possible. We know we can do more to make people’s experience of our services better, so through Solihull Together I am helping colleagues to ‘join the dots’ to make sure we get the best out of our services, identify areas for improvement and scan the system as a whole for opportunities to really transform our approach.
Biggest challenge ....It’s ensuring that a person going through a crisis doesn’t feel the boundaries between health and social care. We need to listen to the experiences people and their families have had and actively include them wherever possible in all steps of the redesign process.
What I’m learning....the most interesting part of my role is having the opportunity to work across the system. I truly believe in the aims of Solihull Together and am finding working outside of individual organisation boundaries enables you to gain a unique insight into opportunities for improvement. Having the support of the Solihull Together Board has already encouraged an open and collaborative approach and I hope I can foster that further through this programme of work.
Life before Solihull Together – I joined Solihull Council’s communications team 5 years ago to work on Adult Social Care projects. That led to my involvement in the ICASS programme and I am now seconded full time to support Solihull Together.
My role...is to help tell the story of Solihull Together, celebrate successes, share learning and connect up different parts of the system. I run the Solihull Together annual Awards which are a fantastic opportunity to recognise great work going on in the borough to support adults. Now we are starting to bring together the Award winners to help them make new connections with colleagues in different parts of the system. It’s inspiring to work with our winners and see what they could achieve together. I also lead the Solihull Together Communications Group which brings together colleagues from the Council and NHS so that we can tell a consistent story across the borough and share our resources and communications channels to support the programme.
Biggest challenge...learning the languages that different organisations use. It’s really important that we can talk about the programme in a way that makes sense to everyone, whether they are professionals working in the system or members of the public. I haven’t cracked all the NHS acronyms yet!