The article 'Pilots making little difference' states that, according to research, pilot projects that have focused on the government’s policy of shifting services from hospitals into the community have made little difference.
In reality, far from achieving little, the pilots have helped identify key learnings that will enable NHS organisations to make changes at a local level as part of Our Health, Our Care, Our Say, writes Martin Samuels
The pilots the article refers to are the first step in delivering a set of practical resources that will help NHS organisations shift care closer to home. Through this exercise, we gained a clear sense of what is required if services are to be shifted into the community, which is helping inform the development of these resources.
The article wrongly refers to challenges and learnings identified by the report as 'negative pilot results' - sidelining the fact that these learnings were important to identify and are the reasons why any pilot should take place.
The article also failed to mention the positive results from the pilot. For example, one back pain pilot in Birmingham helped reduce waiting times from 87 weeks to around three weeks. The same pilot site saw reductions in secondary care appointments from 49 per cent to 18 per cent - significant when you consider these appointments cost£2,493 compared with£604 if they take place outside secondary care. Perhaps most notably, the project also reported 95 per cent patient satisfaction.
Martin Samuels is head of the priority programme, care outside hospital, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.