The Departments of Health’s National Support Teams (NSTs) have been established to help the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England, with the least favourable health and deprivation indicators, improve their performance in critical areas including Health Inequalities, Sexual Health, Teenage Pregnancy and Tobacco Control.
The teams consist of healthcare professionals who conduct visits to PCTs to analyse performance, strategies and relationships, and identify areas for improvement.
Our task was to analyse client and staff perceptions of NST performance at a team level and recommend possible areas of improvement.
What did we do?
We initially interviewed key team personnel to understand their views of the context and their challenges.
We then conducted depth interviews with Directors of Health and accompanied an NST on a visit, to provide the insights to develop an appropriately focused questionnaire. This was administered to several hundred respondents who had experienced one of the visits.
On the basis of the research findings across these stages on how NSTs were delivering their skills and services, we produced a comprehensive performance review, which was presented to a full meeting of team members.
We were able to cover not only how PCTs had perceived NSTs performance, but also to offer specific recommendations on improvements which could be made in processes, the skills base, and the ongoing relationships between the teams and visited PCTs.
What was the breakthrough for The Department of Health?
- Detailed feedback from a large proportion of past visits
- Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of visit objectives, elements and outcomes
- Specific and practical recommendations for change