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HIT Conference goes virtual to address the impact of COVID-19 and wider health inequalities

20 October 2020

Bristol Health Partners held its annual Health Integration Team (HIT) Conference as an entirely virtual event this year because of the pandemic. The event, “COVID-19 Call to Action: What else can we achieve in health and social care?”, took place between 28 September and 1 October and was attended by more than 250 academics, clinicians, commissioners and others from organisations across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

Over the four days, there was a packed programme, including case study presentations from our HITs and health network partners, a panel discussion on the impact of COVID, personal reflections from our patient and public contributors and break out conversations for our HITs to discuss and share best practice.

The first day of the event saw approximately 140 delegates attend the official launch of our Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) with presentations from our Chair, Andrea Young and our AHSC Director, Professor David Wynick. The keynote speaker this year was Professor Sir Robert Lechler, former Executive Director of King’s Health Partners AHSC, who shared his experience of running an AHSC over the last ten years.

In our closed HIT sessions, more than 60 people from 13 of our HITs took part in discussions on addressing health inequalities and service recovery.

The final day of the Conference featured interviews with three inspirational leaders: Bristol Health Partners Chair Andrea Young, award-winning journalist and health campaigner Primrose Granville and sustainability and community engagement expert Zoe Banks Gross. The interviews were conducted by Dr Julian Walker, Director of Research & Development at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and member of the Bristol Health Partners Executive Team.

Feedback has been positive from those who attended the conference – and thank you to those who completed an evaluation form.

“I really enjoyed the HIT conversation session. It was very smoothly organised, and the breakout sessions worked really well,” said Julie Clayton, Coordinator of the Dementia HIT.

Dr Alison Llewellyn is the Project Manager of the Chronic Pain HIT and presented a case study in one of the HIT Conversation sessions and she said: “It was a pleasure to have contributed to the HIT Conversation session. The breakout discussions that followed were excellent. There is a clear impetus and desire for the HITs to work together on common themes and share learning and best practice, which was lovely to hear.”

Oliver Watson, Joint Chief Operating Officer of Bristol Health Partners said: “Even though it has been a challenging time across health and care systems, we are pleased to see that the level of engagement and enthusiasm from our Health Integration Teams and the Partnership has not wavered. This event gave us the opportunity to come together and focus on what we have learnt so far from our collective COVID response and how we can apply this to tackling other critical areas such as health inequalities and climate change. We’re motivated now more than ever to translate this enthusiasm into practical work with our HITs and partners.

“We’d like to thank all of our speakers, panellists, patient and public contributors, interviewees, session chairs and delegates for making our first virtual HIT Conference such a success. Also a special thank you to the Autumn Live team and George Chan at Blue Fire Films for all their support.”

Presentations and recordings of all the Conference sessions are available here.

HIT Conference goes virtual to address the impact of COVID-19 and wider health inequalities
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