22 January 2021

The ambition of the Hampshire Together programme goes beyond building a new hospital to serve north and mid Hampshire – the aim is to give local people a truly joined-up system of NHS and social care.

Bringing teams and services closer together is the right approach for everyone. For patients, it means better results and a better experience, while for staff, it means that skills can be developed and pressures better managed.

The process of integrating services is already well underway across north and mid Hampshire, and the Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospitals and Health Service programme offers a rare chance to accelerate that process of change further.

Much of the focus of Hampshire Together may appear to be on the provision of new facilities, including the potential for a hospital as part of the Government’s Health Infrastructure Plan. However, behind the scenes, the process already involves GPs, mental health and social care teams, community services and charities, all working together alongside hospital teams and commissioners.

The shared focus is on finding ways to building a network of outstanding care, both inside hospitals and within communities, delivered in the right place, at the right time and by the right health healthcare professional.

Dr Matt Nisbet, a local GP and a clinical lead at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs, said: “In the past the NHS tended to ask patients to fit in with the system. Now our task is to design a system that fits around the needs of our patients.

“The Hampshire Together project is a rare and exciting opportunity for us all. It gives us the chance to look again at how our health and care services work together, and how we serve our patients.

“And we can only get that right if we hear from the people who use local services. During public consultation, which is due to take place this year, it will be invaluable for us to hear from people about their experiences, what has worked for them, and what doesn’t work.”

There is already a huge amount of work underway to build a network of care in north and mid Hampshire – one which reduces the amounts of times patients are passed from one team to another, and provides better, more convenient care.

“Positive changes have already been made – but our challenge now is to go further still, and improve care for more people,” said Dr Nisbet. “For example, we are currently working on a successful system where hospital-based paediatricians hold monthly meetings in GP surgeries, bringing together a wide range of staff to discuss patients. It helps build relationships, and means that those young patients get better, faster care.”

Other examples include GP spending time on placements with hospital teams, and the development of integrated care teams – groups of staff members from a range of organisations and disciplines working together for the benefit of the people under their care.