Partnership Working in Action
The HIECs were, essentially, locally owned and locally led partnerships to spread innovation through education; supporting the local workforce to learn to work differently, utilising ideas, products and technologies that had been tried elsewhere and proved to be successful. They were as much about the adoption and spread of new ways of working as about developing innovation within local communities of practice.
The Health Service Research Network of the NHS Confederation reported:
HIECs have made significant progress towards encouraging innovation and the spread of good practice.
• There are untapped skills and enthusiasm in frontline staff who, if involved, will initiate, support and sustain improvement.
• A focus on combining innovation with education has been key to HIECs’ frontline focus.
• One of HIECs’ main strengths has been their ability to build partnerships with organisations outside of the NHS.
• Building partnerships to promote innovation requires exchanges of people as well as ideas.
• The short lifespan of HIECs means the full impact of their work has not yet been realised.
Read the whole report here: national HIEC briefing
Between them, the activities of the HIECs spanned all the clinical areas covered by the NHS and many areas of workforce development. For a summary of the scale of their activities, please click here: Copy of Directory of HIEC Projects MASTER EXC Finance
Some of the HIECs also produced detailed summaries of their work, to showcase the range and ambition of what they did. One such report was produced by South London, who testified to: “…the hard work of many hundreds of people who, by working together across traditional boundaries, have created such a large legacy.”
Similarly, in Yorkshire and the Humber, they said: “We have worked across the health economy- we have worked across sectors, disciplines and settings engaging commissioners and staff at all levels. This has not been easy; we have often found ourselves challenging “the system” in order to achieve our goals. It has been difficult, time consuming and even fraught at times, working across sectors means wrestling with the constraints of each. We have experienced several challenges along the way, we describe these and how we overcame them.”