New models in children's health: inspiring positive change

Samantha Jones, NHS England, outlines why our new report report provide encouraging opportunities to learn from emerging models across all specialties.

Blog post

Published: 08/02/2016

Samantha Jones, Director for the New Care Models National Programme, NHS England, outlines why our new report The future of child health services: new models of care  provides encouraging opportunities to learn from emerging models across all specialties.

The new care models programme being led by the NHS Five Year Forward View partners is all about a variety of organisations removing sector and organisational boundaries to design new ways of working – and sharing best practice is fundamental to its success. This means learning from others and making changes that others can also adopt, so that equally excellent care is offered across the country.

Under the programme, 50 vanguards are implementing and establishing new ways of working together, putting themselves and their communities in the national spotlight as pioneers in their areas. They are providing a rich source of data for others to learn from and use as a basis for their own models.

Many of the lessons in the Nuffield Trust’s new report, The future of child health services: new models of care, can be applied across the whole range of NHS, care and other community services, not only those supporting children and young people.

The data referred to shows us that despite significant improvements in child health in recent decades, our service delivery has not yet fully adapted to the changes in the kinds of illness children are facing, with an increasing prevalence of often-preventable long-term health conditions such as diabetes and obesity, which are best treated in the community.

However, it is clear from the 12 new models of care cited in this report that services are being developed with an increasing focus on health promotion and a growing understanding of the needs of different sections of the child population. A key driver for us all should be on preventing ill health occurring in the first place, rather than focusing solely on treatment and care. The report highlights that there is an opportunity to prevent physical and mental ill health in adult life by improving the health of children and young people, and that education is especially important in achieving this.

Common features of the emerging new models of care also include:

  • Understanding how children and families use the health system;
  • Making more of the community settings in which health care and well-being can be provided;
  • Addressing the wider needs of children and families by working in multidisciplinary teams;
  • Joining up health records.

Developing our staff, redesigning roles and working across organisational boundaries are key facilitators if we are to remove obstacles and truly deliver patient-centred care.

The new models of care discussed in this report also highlight how the teams involved have taken the opportunity to learn from each other and break down barriers, forging practical links across disciplines and professions (both within and outside healthcare) and, crucially, with local communities.

This report is therefore something we can all learn and benefit from, covering as it does examples of good practice and areas of significance for all providers, whatever their specialty or individual challenges.

While the organisations taking part in the new care models programme will have a particular interest, I hope this report will also inspire positive change for others.

As the report states: “While many of the new models discussed here are medically focused, there is widespread agreement that solutions should include the wider health workforce and other sectors.”

These are exciting times for us all – from national organisations, policy makers and regulators to NHS commissioners and providers, local authorities and education, third sector providers and other community support organisations, our staff on the ground and our local populations – as we work together to deliver on the vision for a future NHS as outlined in the Five Year Forward View.

Follow Sam on: @SamanthaJNHS

Please note that views expressed in guest blogs on the Nuffield Trust website are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent those of the Trust. 

Suggested citation

Jones S (2016) ‘New models in children's health: inspiring positive change’. Nuffield Trust comment, 8 February 2016.