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Information on the Working Together programme and specific Workstream groups

UK First Reporting Radiographer Academy to open in South Yorkshire


A UK first training academy for radiographers is being set up in South Yorkshire to help grow the number of people who are able to read (also known as report) X-rays.


Rotherham will soon be home to a tailor-made Reporting Radiographer Academy, which will be the first centre in the country where radiographers will undertake their clinical training together.


Radiographers are the health professionals who take diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans, however some also interpret what the images are showing, alongside their medical radiologist colleagues. Using radiographers to also interpret the images is now common in the UK, however it is believed this is the first time in the UK that NHS organisations have grouped together to offer their existing staff the chance to up-skill through attending the dedicated academy.


The concept for the Working Together Reporting Radiographer Academy was born after the leads from each of the hospital Trusts in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield commenced working together to collectively address local issues. They identified that although they wished to increase the number of reporting radiographers the national shortage of radiologists was having a significant impact on the ability to train staff, so they came up with the Reporting Radiographer Academy as a solution.


The plans for the academy are now well underway, with a first cohort of trainees due to start in Rotherham in early September.


Dr Des Breen, Medical Director for the Working Together Partnership Vanguard has been instrumental in setting up the Academy, he said: “By setting up the Academy we are putting ourselves at the forefront of this new approach to addressing the need to have more radiographers who can report on X-rays as well as take them. Not only does the Academy help solve a future workforce issue it also develops our existing workforce, which we are confident will also help with staff retention. I’m looking forward to the feedback once the first wave of our students have attended the course.”

Working Together contributes to new national Best Practice Toolkit


The Working Together Partnership Vanguard has been referenced as a partner in a new toolkit that has been developed by the Moorfields Vanguard programme. Moorfields have developed the toolkit to provide: Best practice for a sustainable (clinically and financially), successful, specialist networked care model across multiple locations with the largest positive impact on patients, staff and partner organisations; Evidenced-based learning to help you decide whether a networked model of care will make your organisation more sustainable; and Practical advice, guidance and frameworks to enable you to establish your own network in the way best suited to your local circumstances. The Working Together Partnership Vanguard met with Moorfields in the summer in 2016 to share our learnings from working as an acute care collaboration, and the information taken from the meeting has contributed to the development of Moorfields’ toolkit. The toolkit can be found here:

Reflections on 2016/17 from an Acute Care Collaboration Vanguard


With the two-year anniversary of the vanguard programme celebrated this week, we decided to take a look back over the past year of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard,  what we’ve achieved, what we’ve learnt and what comes next.

Acute Care Collaboration (ACC) vanguards were one of the later waves of vanguards and therefore haven’t all been on the scene for two years, however we were already operating as a partnership prior to becoming a vanguard so have a longer history than most of our ACC colleagues. What’s beneficial for us about our history, is that we have made it through that proportion of our earlier period which was spent constructing the building blocks for the partnership. It now feels like over the past year we’ve seen some real tangible examples of successful partnership initiatives taking shape, and we can feel confident in our projects, thanks to having taken the time to build strong foundations.

One of the corner-stones of the Working Together Partnership approach is using Managed Clinical Networks to engage staff and ensure partnership working is embedded in the Trusts. For each project we undertake we establish a Managed Clinical Network, supported by the Programme Management Office, but led and staffed by the Trusts themselves. Over the past year these networks have grown stronger, and have put forward their own real solutions to some of the resilience and sustainability issues that the Trusts in our patch face.

One example this year has included the Managed Clinical Network for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services having established and implemented a shared out-of-hours ENT rota for the region and shared policies and protocols.

Another exciting example of work coming to fruition this year is the establishment of the Radiology Academy by the Radiology Managed Clinical Network. The Working Together developed and funded Academy is set to open its doors in September. The Academy will train radiographers to report as well as capture film, helping provide a sustainable workforce for the region.

We have seen more procurement developments this year building on previous early successes. This year we have taken on procurements for goods that are more complex than our earlier joint-procurements, for example we have procured surgical gloves; we have moved to a shared e-tendering platform and a shared workplan across the partner Trusts; we have also joined with other partners as and when it will benefit a procurement, with successful partnerships with the Shelford Group and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital Trust.

Pushing the boundary with procurement has seen us awarded highly commended in the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network Innovation, Improvement Impact Awards. It has also seen us recently shortlisted for the HSJ Value in Healthcare Improving Value through Innovative Financial Management and Procurement.

We have seen more informatics successes over the past year, including the successful pilot for an Inter-Trust Cancer Messaging system, which is designed to significantly speed up cancer referrals. The pilot is set to be rolled out across all the Trusts, and 19 tumour sites from April.

Working with the Commissioners Working Together team we have been involved in developing a case for change and business case for changing Children’s Surgery and Anaesthesia services across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, with the aim of creating a safer, stronger, and more equitable service. The Commissioners have led a 6 month public consultation on our proposals, and work to support our Trusts to deliver on a potentially changed service starts now, as the decision is set to be made at the end of June.

The past year has seen a significant focus on the roll we play around corporate services, following national announcements about exploring opportunities for shared services. Maintaining our strong engagement approach we have explored standardisation and streamlining approaches to various corporate services, with much work still progressing on this agenda. In the meantime savings we helped Trusts to secure by implementing best practice recommendations and systems for e-rostering and legal services won us our second HSJ Value in Healthcare Award shortlisting.

Another by no means small achievement this year has been winning over hearts and minds, which will very shortly allow us to progress to the next stage in our governance evolution. Our Trusts are in the final stages of agreeing a Committees in Common structure, which will allow Trust Chairs and Chief Executives to make shared decisions on matters that have been delegated to them by their Trust Boards. We are really pleased to be moving to this structure, and feel it is a clear demonstration by our partners of the value they see in working together.

The final reflection on 2016/17 is that it’s been an interesting year for us as the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) came into being. Because we are an ACC vanguard which works across a geographical footprint rather than a specialism, and our partnership encompasses all of the major acute trusts in the STP region, in some senses we are now emerging as a large cog in the STP engine room.

Whilst our existence has worked well for the STP because it’s meant that there are existing networks and structures that can be built upon, for the Working Together Vanguard it has led to some changes in our geography and the robustness of our partnership, with our partners in Mid Yorks and Chesterfield having to negotiate how they continue as our partners but also as members of a different STP footprint. It seems fitting that it’s on this note that we conclude our reflections, with much of the STP future still unknown.

In the meantime we continue to work hard to drive forward more successful collaborations in our region, and to show our colleagues across the country that in a period of necessary transformation and change we shouldn’t be overlooked – the Acute Care Collaborations have much learning to bring to the table. Perhaps it will be the very foundations and building blocks that the Working Together Partnership laid that will allow a strong, effective, high quality and sustainable health and care organisation for the future to rise to the challenge that we face?

Dr Des Breen, Medical Director and Janette Watkins, Programme Director for the Working Together Partnership Vanguard

#TheBlonde gets up close and personal with our medical director


National NHS Blog site – The Academy of Fab NHS Stuff – has interviewed the Working Together Medical Director Dr Des Breen for his views on being a vanguard.


What does being a vanguard mean to you?

Working Together was already an established collaboration before we became a vanguard. We wanted to become a vanguard for the opportunity to share our learning and learn from other collaborations which may be facing the same issues or challenges. A central sense-check on what we are doing and whether it is a useful model that can be adopted across the NHS is also invaluable. We hope that we are contributing valuable insight, particularly as we are the only vanguard working across multiple Trusts looking at routine clinical and non-clinical services.

What problem did you want to solve?

At the start of the process we had seven sovereign organisations who each had their own internal problems and ideas for solutions. The objectives of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard are to work together and strengthen each of the seven Hospital Trusts by sharing collective expertise and knowledge to:

  • Improve quality, safety and the patient experience
  • Deliver safe and sustainable new models of care
  • Make collective efficiencies where the potential exists

Read the full article on the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff website here

International Health Commentator hears from the Working Together Partnership


Renowned international health commentator, Professor Don Berwick is in the UK this week visiting and hearing from vanguards, including the Working Together Partnership Vanguard.

The eminent international healthcare opinion former was appointed by The King’s Fund and NHS England in October 2015 to help support vanguards and was keen to hear how the Trusts in the South Yorkshire, Mid Yorkshire and North Derbyshire area are successfully working together.
Working Together Programme Director Janette Watkins today presented to Professor Berwick the progress of the Vanguard and the challenges around developing clinical networks , new governance systems for the partnership as well as developments between Trusts in informatics, procurement, shared service and best practice initiatives. Professor Berwick will be using coaching techniques to support the shared learning with colleagues across vanguards and what action is necessary to overcome the challenges .

Janette Watkins said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight from such a renowned, international leader in healthcare.”

A paediatrician by background, Don was for 19 years the founding CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. In 2010, he was appointed as the Administrator of the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (the federal agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid in the United States of America), a position that he held until December 2011. He has served on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.
In 2013 he carried out a review of patient safety in the NHS for former Prime Minister David Cameron. Recognised as a leading authority on health care quality and improvement, Don has authored or co-authored more than 160 scientific articles and six books.

Innovative Partnership Between Local Hospitals Wins Shortlisting In National Health Award


An innovative approach to partnering up when purchasing medical supplies, which has saved Hospital Trusts in South and Mid Yorkshire, Chesterfield and Bassetlaw more than £1m, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The Working Together Partnership Vanguard is a partnership of seven hospital Trusts who are working together to strengthen each organisation’s ability to deliver safe, sustainable and local services.  It has been announced that the Partnership has been shortlisted in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards, in both the Innovative Procurement category and the Value in Support Services category.

“We are delighted that the Working Together Partnership Vanguard has received this recognition. The partnership has been able to achieve significant savings that can be re-invested in patient care. “

Tony Pedder, Chair of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard

The innovative procurement shortlisted entry showcases how by working together in the purchase of a number of medical supplies, such as examination and surgical gloves, medical pulp, tissue adhesives, film dressings and needles and syringes, the hospitals were able to make significant financial savings without affecting quality of care for patients. By working together and purchasing products in larger quantities better financial deals were able to be negotiated with the companies who make the medical supplies.

The Working Together Partnership Vanguard has also been shortlisted for the Value in NHS Support Services category. The shortlisted bid demonstrates how Trusts can make significant savings simply by working together and sharing best practice approaches to support services, such as workforce management and legal services.

Tony Pedder, Chair of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard said: “We are delighted that the Working Together Partnership Vanguard has received this recognition. The partnership has been able to achieve significant savings that can be re-invested in patient care.“

Innovative procurement and support service efficiencies are just two strands of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard. The partnership has also created shared digital platforms to improve patient care in the seven partner Trusts and created innovative ways for clinicians to work together to ensure services are sustainable and equitable.

The Partnership is one of the NHS national vanguard sites. Each vanguard takes a lead on the development of new care models which will act as the blueprints for the NHS moving forward and the inspiration to the rest of the health and care system. The Working Together Partnership Vanguard is one of 13 acute care collaborations, which have the aim of linking local hospitals together to improve their clinical and financial viability.

£1m of new funding to support successful Working Together Partnership of NHS Trusts in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire



NHS England has today (15 December) announced £962,000 of new funding to support and spread the work of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard, which is a partnership of the seven Hospital Trusts in South and Mid Yorkshire, North Derbyshire.

The vanguards are 50 nationally chosen partnerships. Each vanguard takes a lead on the development of new care models which will act as blueprints for the NHS moving forward and the inspiration to the rest of the health and care system. The Working Together Partnership Vanguard’s new care model is to explore what can be achieved when seven local Hospital Trusts work together to strengthen each organisation’s ability to deliver safe, sustainable and local services.

Dr Des Breen, Medical Director of the Working Together Partnership Vanguard said: “Over the last 2 years, the seven NHS Trusts who make up the Working Together Partnership have delivered some real benefits.  This has included developing new ways of delivering care, spearheading innovative procurement methods which have saved more than £1million pounds and using digital technology to which make it easier for clinicians to deliver timely and seamless care across the seven Trusts.

“We are therefore very pleased that our funding has been agreed for a further year because this means we can continue this important work and also play a key role in bringing to fruition the aspirations outlined in the South Yorkshire and Basseltlaw Sustainability and Transformation plan.”

Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme said: “The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff.  2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services.  This funding, as well as the support we offer to them, will help them to continue to move at pace.”


£320k saving on Surgical Gloves


Following the successful Working Together procurement for examination gloves, which saved the seven Working Together Trusts £400k in 2014, a new exercise covering surgical gloves is now set to save more than £320k across the region.

Clinicians were heavily involved in the procurement exercise to ensure a solution was reached that offered an achievable saving and did not diminish quality in any way.

Ansell Healthcare, the world’s largest global manufacturer of surgical gloves were the selected supplier and are now working with each of the Trusts to establish which of their range of gloves are best for each surgeon’s requirements.

Prior to this procurement a total of 47 different types of gloves were used across the Working Together Trusts, many with similar specifications but very varied prices.

The implementation will be staged across the individual Trusts according to each Trust’s requirements.

UK-First Technology aims to speed up cancer referrals


A UK first technology solution that is designed to speed up cancer patient referrals between NHS organisations has been piloted in hospital Trusts in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

Inter-Trust messaging (ITM) has been developed thanks to the Working Together Partnership and technology data management company CIMS using their InfoFlex Cancer Management system. The partnership of Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster & Bassetlaw, Mid Yorks, Chesterfield and Sheffield hospitals, identified that there were significant opportunities to improve the system for referring a cancer patient from a district hospital to a specialist treatment centre.

Previously, when a patient was identified as potentially needing treatment at a specialist hospital the referring trust would input all of the patient’s data into their standalone InfoFlex system and then would send a secure email to the receiving trust. The receiving trust would then have to spend time re-entering all of the data into their own infoFlex system. Often the patient data that needed to be re-entered included complex numerical systems which has the potential to be mistakenly inputted.

The Working Together partnership designed the concept, and a specialist developer joined the partnership to develop the technology to allow the Inter-Trust messaging capability and to work with the CIMS development team.  The result means that once the patient data has been inputted into the system at the referring Trust, it can automatically be added to the cancer trackers worklist for the receiving trust’s Multi-disciplinary Teams to consider the best course of treatment for the patient.

In October, the Inter-Trust system was piloted for referrals of patients requiring lung and thoracic cancer treatment.  The pilot was successful, and a second pilot will take place in January across more cancer specialties. The aim is then for a roll-out to all the remaining cancer tumour groups including specialist services early February.

Have your say on hyper acute stroke and children’s surgery and anaesthesia services


A three month consultation into Hyper acute stroke services (HASUs) and children’s surgery and anaesthesia services in South and Mid Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire is now underway.

The consultation is part of a review being carried out by Commissioners Working Together, which is the partnership of the eight NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in South and Mid Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and North Derbyshire. STH and the other Trusts in the region have been involved the reviews, but this is your opportunity to have your say.

The proposals that are out for consultation are around changing how hyper acute stroke care services are delivered in the region; and changing the way services are provided in the region for a child who needs an operation under general anaesthetic (where they are sent to sleep) at night, at a weekend, or if they need to stay in hospital overnight.

If you would like to have your say in the consultation visit: The consultation is open until 20th January 2017