2018 has been a momentous year for the Bevan Commission, as we celebrated 10 years of expert thinking and radical action in health and care. It was also the year we marked 70 years of the National Health Service, serving as an important reminder of the founding principles set out by Aneurin Bevan, and of our collective responsibility to safeguard and transform its future.
Making the case for prudent healthcare
There is no denying that the challenges of the future of healthcare look very different to its past. However we can continue to learn from giants like Julian Tudor-Hart and pioneer new, innovative ways to embed a culture of commitment and empathy in our services. The benefits of a reciprocal relationship between people, patients and healthcare professionals are clear; the only limiting factor is whether we will be bold enough to invest fully in redrawing this relationship. - Professor Sir Mansel Aylward
In June, we launched a Bevan Commission publication on 'A Workforce fit for future health and care: aligned to a prudent social model of health' which recommended that traditional roles must undergo a rapid transformation to keep pace with the needs of patients and communities.
The report suggested that different roles encompassing core skills in problem solving, digital expertise and communications will become increasingly vital - such as lifestyle coaches and health technologists. It also reinforced the need to embrace the potential of the ‘unseen’ workforce, including the public, patients, carers and volunteers.
The publication tasked the new special health authority, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), with implementing its recommendations in collaboration with local Health Boards, NHS Trusts, professional organisations and regional planning boards in Wales.
Bevan Commission International Conference 2018
In July, we held the Bevan Commission International Conference 2018 at the Celtic Manor, Newport, marking 70 years of the NHS and 10 years of the Bevan Commission.
We collaborated with NHS at 70: The Story of our Lives to capture stories and memories from people in Wales. We heard about life-changing treatments, memorable hospital stays, career achievements, and the health service's significant impact on communities across the nation.
We also launched a commemorative book, comprising of a collection of personal reflections on the NHS in Wales from internationally renowned experts, the Bevan Commissioners. The book charts the progress of the NHS from its roots in Aneurin Bevan’s Tredegar to its technology-driven tomorrow. It addresses challenges such as health inequalities and deprivation, and explore opportunities such as arts and health collaborations and emerging technologies.
In April, a Bevan Exemplar sepsis awareness and management programme published findings that demonstrated overall success in terms of improved sepsis detection, but led to an increase in the number of E. coli blood stream infection cases presented, calling into question the targets used by Health Boards and set by the Welsh Government.
A Bevan Exemplar scheme which made it quicker and easier for cancer patients to access radiotherapy treatment won a national patient safety award for 'Palliative Care'. The initiative, which was trialled at Velindre Cancer Centre at Cardiff, significantly improved the quality of life for patients by embedding radiographers within the palliative care function, relieving outpatient doctors and ensuring patients can access radiotherapy treatment more rapidly. The scheme won the ‘Palliative Care’ category, as well as being shortlisted under the ‘Cancer Care’ category, at the UK-wide Patient Safety Awards.
In October we led the Welsh Health Gadget Hack, which took place in Wrexham, North Wales and awarded three collaborative projects with funding for further development, with a further runner-up project receiving special recognition.
The two-day event, which was a collaboration between the Bevan Commission, AgorIP and MediWales, brought together over 50 health and care professionals, technologists, academics and supporting agencies to tackle NHS challenges through innovative technology or gadgets.
Driving forward social movements for change
Patients in Wales want a more equal role in managing their own health and care. We worked with partners in Swansea University Medical School, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO) and 1000 Lives Improvement to analyse 1,400 patient responses to Education Programmes for Patients (EPP), which provides courses for people with chronic health issues to help them develop the skills and confidence to self-manage their conditions.
The report found that patients identified significant challenges around communication with healthcare professionals, understanding the healthcare system and accessing services. Solutions suggested by patients included developing health literacy for all, giving patients access to their own health records and improving communication with frontline staff by reducing jargon and managing patient expectations.
Several Bevan Exemplar projects and industry partners were recognised at MediWales Innovation Awards.
The VIPAR (Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation) initiative, based at Hywel Dda University Health Board, scooped the prize for ‘NHS Wales Collaboration with Industry’, sponsored by Life Sciences Hub Wales.
Debbie Thomas, IBS Dietitian from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, won the ‘Innovation in the NHS’ award, sponsored by 1000 Lives Improvement, for her ground-breaking work which improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in over 75 per cent of sufferers.
SymlConnect took home the award for ‘Partnership with the NHS’, sponsored by Nutricia, for their Bevan Exemplar partnership with midwives at Powys Teaching Health Board, led by Marie Lewis, Assistant Director for Innovation and Improvement.
The award for ‘Start up’, sponsored by Geldards Law Firm, was won by QR Info Pod. The Bevan Exemplar industry partner produces patient information hubs linking patients to health information through encrypted QR codes.