Setting up a Health Integration Team: frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. Do we need to notify anyone of our intention to submit a new expression of interest (EOI) or full proposal?
    If you are preparing a Health Integration Team (HIT) EOI or full proposal application you should inform the Programme Manager, Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk or 07875 077715) as early as possible to agree the most appropriate submission date and be allocated a panel meeting slot. You should make contact at least one month prior to any intended date of submission and keep her informed of any issues which might lead to a delay. The panel meets on a monthly basis and Lisa can provide details of submission deadlines.
  2. How should HIT application forms be submitted?
    Completed HIT application forms should be submitted electronically by emailing to Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk) by noon on the day of the deadline. Please email or phone 07875 077715 if you have any concerns or questions on the day. Late applications will be deferred for review at a future meeting.
  3. Will there be a formal (or informal) interview as part of the EOI or full proposal evaluation?
    A formal interview is not required for HITs submitting an EOI. However, those HIT teams invited to submit a full proposal will be asked to present their vision and plans to the HIT review panel. This is made up of members of the executive group of Bristol Health Partners and is chaired by David Relph. Each prospective HIT team must give a 10 minute presentation. This will be followed by 20 mins of questions and discussion. A maximum of four team members should attend the meeting, one of whom should be a commissioner. Your team will be allocated a specific time slot.

  4. Does not having a HIT in my service or research area mean it is no longer seen as a priority or important for Bristol?
    Absolutely not. HITs are expected to emerge from those priority areas where Bristol has both service and research strengths. HITs are just one aspect of the Bristol Health Partners collaboration and this process should not detract from, and hopefully will improve, opportunities for existing or non-HIT related health services or research underway in individual partner organisations.

  5. Does HIT approval or accreditation automatically lead to investment to deliver the changes proposed by the HIT?
    This cannot be assumed but becoming a HIT provides an excellent opportunity to gather evidence to support a business case for changes. Investment by the implementing trust(s) and university partner(s) is contingent on successful evidence-based business cases being developed and approved by trust boards in the usual way.

  6. Are HITs the way NHS trusts and universities will now fund clinical research?
    Bristol Health Partners will not act as a funder of research. It is fully expected that HIT teams will identify gaps in the evidence base where new research is needed which will need to be funded in the usual way through external grant applications. HITs are expected to apply for funding from a range of sources to enable this research to take place.

  7. Is it necessary to have at least three Bristol Health Partners partner organisations involved in a HIT from the start?
    Yes at least three partners is the absolute minimum. The expectation is that all partners be involved in time unless a very clear case can be made for why this should not be the case.

  8. What support can we expect in developing a HIT?
    At the EOI stage we will endeavour to help put you in touch with potential collaborators from across the partnership and to link you to appropriate experts to help you build your team and to develop your HIT vision and plans. We run HIT surgery sessions at our annual HIT conference (see 11 below) and we can also put you in touch with relevant experts throughout the year.

  9. What are the possible outcomes of a HIT EOI application?
    Detailed feedback is given at each stage of the process and this should help guide teams on the development of their HIT. The development of a HIT is an iterative process. Some HIT teams are already well established, others have come together only recently to pull together a HIT proposal.

    This means that some EOI applications are more developed than others. The outcomes and feedback will therefore be tailored to each application. Some teams will be invited to submit a full proposal for the next available review panel meeting. Other teams will be given advice and support on how to further develop their ideas, build their teams and make new connections with a view to submitting at a later date. Others may be asked to refine their vision and plans and resubmit an EOI.

    Not all EOI applications will lead to HITs. The panel may decide that for some teams their concept or plans are not in fact best served by becoming a HIT; or that what they are offer is an underpinning methodology, service or technology which could be of value to one or more HITs (see 12 below). It may be that simply by coming together and working through the HIT process groups establish new collaborations which lead onto funding applications for a specific piece of work or to other exciting initiatives which could be of benefit to patients in different ways. Bristol Health Partners wishes to encourage and help support all such activity.

  10. What does ‘modest funding’ for HIT teams mean?
    Bristol Health Partners has some funds available to support HITs. This might be used for instance to free up time for clinical leads of approved HITs for a defined period and to cover patient and public involvement costs. The amount allocated will depend on the needs of each HIT and this will be explored in detail at the full proposal stage. These modest sums are to support the HIT through the period required to prepare the implementation plan and initial business case(s) and to develop the HIT further. It is expected that throughout the development of the HIT, in discussion with the host and other partner organisations, opportunities to apply for appropriate external funding from a range of sources will also be identified.

  11. Is there an opportunity to discuss our HIT ideas, how to get involved in a HIT or the development of our HIT?
    The Bristol Health Partners Director, David Relph, and Programme Manager, Lisa Wheatley, are happy to meet with you to discuss your HIT idea prior to submission. Our HIT surgery session at our annual HIT conference (usually held in June) is an opportunity to speak with each of the Bristol Health Partner organisations and a wide range of experts supporting different aspects of HIT development.

    We strongly encourage anyone interested in finding out about HITs or involved in developing a HIT to attend this conference. There is a wealth of expertise available in one place at one time and these have proved extremely popular and beneficial in the past. You will have the opportunity to speak individually or as a team with each of the experts. These sessions are useful at every stage of the HIT process not just at the beginning.

    If you are not able to wait until the next annual conference to discuss your ideas, please get in touch with Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@Bristol.ac.uk , 07875 077715) and she will be able to connect you with relevant experts.

  12. What do I do if I have expertise, models, methodologies, technologies, facilities or a service which might be of value to a HIT or a range of HITs?
    We have already had a number of people and groups come forward who fall into this broad category and we anticipate there could be many more across the partnership. It is essential that we enable HITs to connect with these individuals, groups, units, centres or facilities. We endeavour to bring individuals and underpinning activities together with our approved and prospective HIT teams. To find out more and register your interest in becoming involved in a HIT or providing an underpinning activity or service contact Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk or 07875 077715).

Setting up a Health Integration Team: frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. Do we need to notify anyone of our intention to submit a new expression of interest (EOI) or full proposal?
    If you are preparing a Health Integration Team (HIT) EOI or full proposal application you should inform the Programme Manager, Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk or 07875 077715) as early as possible to agree the most appropriate submission date and be allocated a panel meeting slot. You should make contact at least one month prior to any intended date of submission and keep her informed of any issues which might lead to a delay. The panel meets on a monthly basis and Lisa can provide details of submission deadlines.
  2. How should HIT application forms be submitted?
    Completed HIT application forms should be submitted electronically by emailing to Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk) by noon on the day of the deadline. Please email or phone 07875 077715 if you have any concerns or questions on the day. Late applications will be deferred for review at a future meeting.
  3. Will there be a formal (or informal) interview as part of the EOI or full proposal evaluation?
    A formal interview is not required for HITs submitting an EOI. However, those HIT teams invited to submit a full proposal will be asked to present their vision and plans to the HIT review panel. This is made up of members of the executive group of Bristol Health Partners and is chaired by David Relph. Each prospective HIT team must give a 10 minute presentation. This will be followed by 20 mins of questions and discussion. A maximum of four team members should attend the meeting, one of whom should be a commissioner. Your team will be allocated a specific time slot.

  4. Does not having a HIT in my service or research area mean it is no longer seen as a priority or important for Bristol?
    Absolutely not. HITs are expected to emerge from those priority areas where Bristol has both service and research strengths. HITs are just one aspect of the Bristol Health Partners collaboration and this process should not detract from, and hopefully will improve, opportunities for existing or non-HIT related health services or research underway in individual partner organisations.

  5. Does HIT approval or accreditation automatically lead to investment to deliver the changes proposed by the HIT?
    This cannot be assumed but becoming a HIT provides an excellent opportunity to gather evidence to support a business case for changes. Investment by the implementing trust(s) and university partner(s) is contingent on successful evidence-based business cases being developed and approved by trust boards in the usual way.

  6. Are HITs the way NHS trusts and universities will now fund clinical research?
    Bristol Health Partners will not act as a funder of research. It is fully expected that HIT teams will identify gaps in the evidence base where new research is needed which will need to be funded in the usual way through external grant applications. HITs are expected to apply for funding from a range of sources to enable this research to take place.

  7. Is it necessary to have at least three Bristol Health Partners partner organisations involved in a HIT from the start?
    Yes at least three partners is the absolute minimum. The expectation is that all partners be involved in time unless a very clear case can be made for why this should not be the case.

  8. What support can we expect in developing a HIT?
    At the EOI stage we will endeavour to help put you in touch with potential collaborators from across the partnership and to link you to appropriate experts to help you build your team and to develop your HIT vision and plans. We run HIT surgery sessions at our annual HIT conference (see 11 below) and we can also put you in touch with relevant experts throughout the year.

  9. What are the possible outcomes of a HIT EOI application?
    Detailed feedback is given at each stage of the process and this should help guide teams on the development of their HIT. The development of a HIT is an iterative process. Some HIT teams are already well established, others have come together only recently to pull together a HIT proposal.

    This means that some EOI applications are more developed than others. The outcomes and feedback will therefore be tailored to each application. Some teams will be invited to submit a full proposal for the next available review panel meeting. Other teams will be given advice and support on how to further develop their ideas, build their teams and make new connections with a view to submitting at a later date. Others may be asked to refine their vision and plans and resubmit an EOI.

    Not all EOI applications will lead to HITs. The panel may decide that for some teams their concept or plans are not in fact best served by becoming a HIT; or that what they are offer is an underpinning methodology, service or technology which could be of value to one or more HITs (see 12 below). It may be that simply by coming together and working through the HIT process groups establish new collaborations which lead onto funding applications for a specific piece of work or to other exciting initiatives which could be of benefit to patients in different ways. Bristol Health Partners wishes to encourage and help support all such activity.

  10. What does ‘modest funding’ for HIT teams mean?
    Bristol Health Partners has some funds available to support HITs. This might be used for instance to free up time for clinical leads of approved HITs for a defined period and to cover patient and public involvement costs. The amount allocated will depend on the needs of each HIT and this will be explored in detail at the full proposal stage. These modest sums are to support the HIT through the period required to prepare the implementation plan and initial business case(s) and to develop the HIT further. It is expected that throughout the development of the HIT, in discussion with the host and other partner organisations, opportunities to apply for appropriate external funding from a range of sources will also be identified.

  11. Is there an opportunity to discuss our HIT ideas, how to get involved in a HIT or the development of our HIT?
    The Bristol Health Partners Director, David Relph, and Programme Manager, Lisa Wheatley, are happy to meet with you to discuss your HIT idea prior to submission. Our HIT surgery session at our annual HIT conference (usually held in June) is an opportunity to speak with each of the Bristol Health Partner organisations and a wide range of experts supporting different aspects of HIT development.

    We strongly encourage anyone interested in finding out about HITs or involved in developing a HIT to attend this conference. There is a wealth of expertise available in one place at one time and these have proved extremely popular and beneficial in the past. You will have the opportunity to speak individually or as a team with each of the experts. These sessions are useful at every stage of the HIT process not just at the beginning.

    If you are not able to wait until the next annual conference to discuss your ideas, please get in touch with Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@Bristol.ac.uk , 07875 077715) and she will be able to connect you with relevant experts.

  12. What do I do if I have expertise, models, methodologies, technologies, facilities or a service which might be of value to a HIT or a range of HITs?
    We have already had a number of people and groups come forward who fall into this broad category and we anticipate there could be many more across the partnership. It is essential that we enable HITs to connect with these individuals, groups, units, centres or facilities. We endeavour to bring individuals and underpinning activities together with our approved and prospective HIT teams. To find out more and register your interest in becoming involved in a HIT or providing an underpinning activity or service contact Lisa Wheatley (Lisa.Wheatley@bristol.ac.uk or 07875 077715).
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