In 2020, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG (BSW) reviewed its Advice & Guidance (A&G) service for GPs accessing secondary care specialist knowledge. This was accessed and delivered in a number of ways across different specialities in the three hospitals and 89 GP practices. A system-wide clinical and management team took the decision to standardise this service with the same digital platform in every setting across the whole CCG.

The West of England AHSN brought together the three systems it works with (BSW, BNSSG and Gloucestershire) in a workshop to discuss their approaches to advice and guidance and referrals and look at ways to implement digital solutions. The three systems were all at different stages of transformation, but agreed that working together to share knowledge on implementation would offer significant potential benefits. The AHSN continued to facilitate joint working of the three systems to ensure shared learning.

The BSW system went live on 1 November 2021. This has been the one of the most extensive and complex digital transformations undertaken by the CCG and once fully embedded into ‘business as usual’ it is expected to change the way GPs and hospital specialists communicate, improve the quality of hospital referrals and refine referral pathways.

The West of England AHSN put us in touch with neighbouring CCGs, Gloucestershire and BNSSG, who are using the same digital platform. Now working with the same digital platform this has created strong working relationships and the potential for seamless A&G support for border patients and future co-working.

Anna Field, Deputy Director for Commissioning, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG

Results to date include:

  • 97% of BSW Practices have onboarded with 87% having used the system.
  • A doubling in the number of A&G requests each day that are flowing through the dedicated system in a traceable way.
  • Acceleration in service development with a 30% increase in A&G services available across BSW acutes.
  • Mental Health services already using the platform to support right service first time and plans to implement A&G services within six months of go-live.

From our point of view, at the West of England AHSN, this has been a fantastic transformation project to be involved with. Being able to connect teams across neighbouring CCGs to share learning and issues, and then to see such a thorough, co-ordinated approach to implementation across BSW by a talented dedicated team has led to fantastic result. We’ll be referring to this as a benchmark project for years to come.

Janina Cross, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, West of England AHSN

The AHSN and the team at BSW have worked together to gather the lessons learned from this project to help inform future digital transformation projects.

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