Let me take you by the hand…

Last Friday – 29th July – I was invited to speak at an event hosted and organised by a Social Enterprise called The Hope Street Centre.

http://www.hopestreetcentre.com/

The conference in question was a ‘Platform’ event focused on the topic of “How to create commissioning systems that create good outcomes for homeless people”. Chaired by Professor David Colin-Thomé and hosted by Alison Holbourn, Chief Executive Hope Street Centre, I had been invited to present a vision for how actionable data could be turned into commissioning intelligence to support better health outcomes.

During the morning an array of speakers principally, though not exclusively, representing social enterprises in Liverpool and Leicester, presented on how they were making life better for the homeless communities they served.

Two of these speakers were Kevin and Tom. Kevin and Tom were once homeless. Both are ex addicts and both had transformed their lives with the help and support of a number of support organisations working with the homeless in Liverpool.

Kevin and Tom are now employed by the very organisations that had given them a lifeline, and they are actively involved in helping make life better for some of the people with whom they had once shared a street, a needle and a bottle.

At the end of Kevin and Tom’s ‘presentations’ (without the aid of PowerPoint I might add) I witnessed delegates in tears. I am not ashamed to admit that I was amongst their number.

This was truly transformational stuff, real life examples of better healthcare outcomes. Success stories that we should all celebrate.

Moreover it demonstrated just what can be achieved when organisations, and more importantly the people in them, join up and work together towards delivery of a shared vision and cause.

This was compassionate commissioning at its very finest.

This was integrated care writ large.

This was people recognising that whilst some of the answers lay within themselves, some of those answers were also to be found elsewhere. This was joined up people, demonstrating joined up thinking and taking joined up action. This was the power of partnership.

Lessons here methinks for everyone out there currently seeking to play a role in delivering commissioning support.

Nigel Slone

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