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Meet the team: NHS & Veterans Health Administration Collaboration Programme #NHSVHA


  • Mary Walker - Clinical Telehealth Program Manager
  • Nick Goodwin - CEO, International Foundation for Integrated Care
  • numerous staff too many to mention from across the VA Healthcare network

The VHA & NHS has an ongoing collaboration that has existed for the last 18 years, relying on good will, going above and beyond and NEVER GIVING UP!

The exchange started by sharing the VHA’s transformation story, a clinically led large scale transformation that resulted in a decrease in acute care beds from around 88,000 to the 18,000 seen today, whilst improving quality outcomes – so just how is that possible?

The exchange has seen some 200 or so participants on both sides of the Atlantic benefit from shared learning and includes all staff from ward to board, including patients in every aspect of the programme.

Challenges facing both systems of care delivery include the following:

  • Growing elderly population
  • Reduced workforce availability
  • Financial constraints
  • Keeping up with technological advances
  • Requirement to support people to self manage

We all understand the challenges, however delivering the transformational change is the holy grail of every large organisation. We know “What” to do, but “How” to go about it is the answer we are all looking for and more importantly how do we create a groundswell of motivation and enthusiasm in those receiving and providing care in the reality of the restrictive environments we are all living in.

This programme has taken a monumental step and has signed an MOU to allow exchanges of learning and ideas internationally all aimed at improving care of the populations whom we all serve. The programme has been led by the same people throughout, providing consistency and stability, widening the programme internationally is the next phase in which I really need help with.

The next steps are growing the participants to spread the learning through a distributed leadership approach, that impacts on culture, behaviours, understand of what’s possible, resulting in collaborative partnerships for transformational change that ultimately deliver better care.

An example of a recent agenda is attached, there are lots more materials that I am unable to attach due to file size.

How you can contribute

  • 1. Finding the right participants to be involved in the programme and offer reciprocal learning is key
  • 2. Increasing awareness of the Programmes availability
  • 3. Pump priming of a number of key improvers to take part and to utilise their networks to spread the learning

Further information

2020VHA_ONLINE_10_06_15 (PDF, 670KB)


  1. Hi

    Just to say we have used online data collection tools and reporting to remotely support a project to improve blood transfusion practice in Zambia at the University Teaching Hospital. There are details on the sharing good practice component on the NICE website as we tied it in with the Transfusion guidelines.





  2. Hi Joanne, great to see this.

    I'm interested in the leadership and networking element of this idea. From what I have read the vital part of the VA inital work was the willingness of its national leaders to support regional network directors to make change happen. That level of buy in is often vital isn't it.

    Have you thought about what the distributed model would look like? Might a networked approach to doing this be something to consider? Is the learning exchange via a variety of means? e.g. online or is this usually a f2f visit?

    The 'how to do it' is always challenging as you've said and the how question also applies to how to create that learning space for people to take back into their organisations. Wondering if you have some case examples of this from the exchange to date? It would be interesting to see and bring it to life.

    If anyone reading this wants to read a quick summary of the VA transformation story, this is a good place to start




    1. Hi Stacey,

      thanks for your comments, I have been immersed in the VA Transformation and it is absolutely inspiring!

      The programme is a mixture of face to face, skype, WebEx, but its also about developing those personal connections that last over time to continue to provide mentoring, guidance and critical friend to work through problems and solutions.

      I’ll also attach a link - learning from connections which you might find useful


  3. Thank you for uploading your idea! It sounds like there is a good relationship with the Veterans Health Administration on which to scale the programme. It might be helpful to give a brief introduction to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

    I would be interested to hear more about the experience of participants and the current impact of the learning exchange on return.

    1. Hi Rosie,

      I have added in some comments from previous participants...., I’d be glad to put you in touch with any of the previous participants, just let me know whether you are interested in talking to clinicians, managers, policy makers, AHP’s social workers,

      and I’ll find the right people and put you in touch

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