Nov 182014


Dr Ruth Hussey MBE

Dr Ruth Hussey OBE

Redesigning Healthcare – Learning from the Nuka system of care to inform the development of healthcare in NHS Wales is the latest white from 1000 Lives Improvement which is being launched today at the NHS Wales National Learning Event in Swansea. There are some very important lessons for us to learn from it about how we involve people in the design and delivery of care.

The Nuka System of Care developed by Southcentral Foundation in Alaska is recognised as one of the most successful and innovative primary care systems in the world. Its success is down to a pioneering community-led model of ‘customer-ownership’, in which users provide regular feedback to inform the development of services that more effectively meet their needs.

What has impressed me is the range of positive outcomes both for patients and staff. People receive treatment quickly and efficiently and also participate actively in their care.

It is true that Southcentral Foundation exists in a different context to the Welsh healthcare system, but there are enough similarities for us to consider which principles can be adopted within NHS Wales. The emphasis on prudent healthcare in NHS Wales is complementary to the lessons that can be learned from the Nuka model. Some examples of how these ideas work in practice seem radical at first, but upon further reflection make perfect sense:

–       Regular ‘open mic’ meetings where customer owners can voice their concerns with senior management.

–       Giving customer owners access to healthcare advice and guidance via text messaging.

–       Trusting staff to choose the best options for reaching the right outcome.

–       Recruiting people with an emphasis on the right attitude and values not just experience or skills.

The questions posed by this paper will no doubt provoke healthy debate, but the fact that the Nuka system is attracting worldwide attention as an example of successful healthcare is something that cannot be ignored.

The white paper comes on the heels of ‘A Primary Care Plan for Wales’ that was published last week and a chapter on primary care in my Annual Report, which was published in October. I hope these reports will provide the basis for progress in creating a prudent healthcare system for Wales based on strong primary care that works with our population as true partners in creating good health and wellbeing.

Dr Ruth Hussey OBE is the Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director for NHS Wales

You can follow Dr Ruth Hussey OBE on Twitter @CMOWales / @CMOCymru

The white paper is based on the visit of leading executives from Southcentral Foundation, Alaska. Presentations and video interviews, which you can view here.

What are your thoughts on the Nuka System of Care? Join the conversation and leave your comments below.

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