There are many local health partnerships in the UK, each with its own strengths and specialties. Bristol Health Partners has been in existence for three years now - or seven if you count its previous incarnation as the Bristol Innovation Group for Health or BRIG-H for short. As we're developing our strategy for the next five years, we thought the time was right to explore what makes our partnership different.
- We aim to improve health and care for the population we serve
Many other health partnerships are focussed on clinical research, but the model we have in Bristol is different. We have a deliberately broad remit covering not only clinical and biomedical research, but also public and population health. We do not focus solely on illness: we also address lifelong health and how to prevent illness in the first place.
- We involve a wide range of partners, including our local authority and commissioning groups
Our broader membership, including our local authority and public health, gives a broader interpretation of health and its determinants. The partnership also includes local Clinical Commissioning Groups, giving us the opportunity to influence service change through quality research.
- Our partnership is voluntary, not mandated - and bottom up, not top down
As a membership organisation, we are able to serve the needs of our partners and local population rather than a more distant funding body with its own agenda. Our structure and funding model mean we are light touch, agile and (we believe) do a great deal with what are relatively limited resources. We are fundamentally committed to a bottom up approach that is clearly manifested in our Health Integration Teams, which have been largely self-forming. We aim to create a platform for people to promote collaboration and integration, and see our role as to facilitate and support, rather than to direct.
- Our Health Integration Team (HIT) model is unique
Our Health Integration Teams (HITs) are focused on a specific topic or condition, and bring together all the local players in the field, regardless of organisational affiliation. HITs tackle health priorities by working in new ways, harnessing the best research, innovation, care and education to make a difference to people's health. Our HITs must evaluate, involve patients and the public and have a 'whole system' approach. Nowhere else is doing research, health service and public health integration quite like this. We're working with the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West) to describe and evaluate the HIT model, with the hope that others can adopt this innovative approach to seemingly intractable health and care problems.
- We are committed to making the most of our local specialisms and strengths
Bristol has considerable health research strengths, especially in public and population health and primary care. We help make the most of them through integrating academia, the health service, public health and commissioning. We apply science to service delivery and improvement, so that change is more effective and likely to succeed. Involving patients and the public is essential to success, and the partnership empowers health professionals to tackle this challenge head on through our unique approach to Patient and Public Involvement (PPI). We have a shared, strategic PPI team which covers all the health networks in the West, including Bristol Health Partners, NIHR CLAHRC West, the Clinical Research Network: West of England and the West of England Academic Health Science Network.
To find out more about our work, visit the about us section of our website.