On the second day of ConfedExpo (15-16 June 2022, Liverpool), SCW hosted a session of talks and Q&A with a panel of speakers involved in Core20Plus Connectors as part of SCW’s ‘Live Lounge’. The Expo event attracted more than 6,000 delegates across the two days and provided an opportunity for health and care leaders and their teams from across the healthcare system to come together and network, spread learning and encourage innovation.
Highlights from the ConfedExpo session in June
I was to have chaired the Connectors session but sadly couldn’t make it due to having Covid - watching the video though it’s clear it was a great selection of presentations and insights from our panel, hosted by my colleague Tom de Pass. The panel consisted of the following:
- Mary Hill, Head of Policy - Healthcare Inequalities Improvement, NHS England
- Charles Kwaku-Odoi, Chief Officer - Caribbean and African Health Network
- Sarah Sweeney, Head of Policy - National Voices
- Merron Simpson, Chief Executive Officer - The Health Creation Alliance
Here are just a few key points from each of the talks, and if you get time do watch the full video of the session on YouTube here.
Mary Hill from NHS England introduced the programme, putting it into the context of Core20Plus5 and emphasising the key message about Focus, Traction, and Impact. She spoke of the twin role of Connectors, both influencing barriers and enablers at the service level, and impact on health inequalities within communities. The rapid development of the programme was outlined, with 21 sites on board, over 30 VSCE or Healthwatch partners, and plans to recruit and support over 400 Connectors.
Charles Kwaku-Odoi (from 8’32”) from the Caribbean and African Health Network (CAHN) spoke about their work as the lead VCSE delivery partner in Greater Manchester (GM), emphasising building trust and working within and for communities, with great examples from Covid and the vaccination programme.
Collaboration, partnership building, continuous engagement, valuing community.. making our voice heard in decision-making spaces; lack of trust was the biggest issue in the vaccination programme.
Key features of the programme in GM include:
- Project is focused on Caribbean and African ethnic communities.
- Recruitment of people with lived experience across the five conditions.
- PCN engagement/working with the voluntary sector, with VCSE Survey to identify working relationships with the PCNs.
- Development of role description for the 30 community connectors. The community connectors will be a blend of persons with lived experience and advocates.
- Co-designing of training for community connectors.
Sarah Sweeney (from 15’52”) spoke about the increasing role and focus of National Voices on health inequalities, building VSCE partnership approaches and convening the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, and the input they are making into the Core20Plus Connectors programme – in particular currently on the Learning and Support offer. National Voices have a strong commitment to shifting power in relationships in health & care and bringing together input from people with lived experience alongside clinical and service leads, through co-production.
The system would look very different if power was much greater in the hands of people with lived experience … work as equals alongside people with lived experience; real power and insight of listening to people’s stories.
Sarah described the importance of meeting people where they’re at, without preconceptions - responding to people's priorities in a holistic way, and ‘holding complexity’ – relationships and power-dynamics don’t change overnight.
Merron Simpson (from 24’13”) similarly emphasise relationships – both within communities and between communities and the wider health and care system. A key observation was that relationships and relationship-building have not historically been a strong point for the NHS, with a range of obstacles and gaps; language gaps, capacity gaps, and funding gaps. It needs time and money to invest in building relationships that have an impact.
Getting relationships right is central to the success of Core20Plus5.
Health creation (a highly assets-based approach) is based on enabling communities to take control, building connections and building confidence.
The session closed with a Q&A discussion touching on digital inclusion, Connectors in the context of similar and related roles (including Social Prescribing, Community Health Workers, Peer Support), and Sustainability of community-based roles and action on health inequalities.
The overriding themes for me from the session were Trust, Relationships, Shifting Power, Lived Experience, and Sustainability – all powerful messages relevant to taking forward the goals of Core20Plus5 and having a real impact on reducing health inequalities.
Join our SCW Spotlight webinar, Discover how Core20Plus Connectors are targeting health inequalities, on 20 October 2022, at 12.30pm-1.15pm.