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What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

Community Hospitals (CH) made important contributions during the Covid-19 response, demonstrating flexibility, resilience and innovation. CH are local hospitals, often rural, with around 500 throughout the UK. 3 examples of quality improvement and innovation have been shared on the Community Hospitals Association (CHA) website:

*Improved communication between patients, families and staff via new technology to encourage motivation and progress rehabilitation

*Improved skills and confidence through locally designed, rapid, virtual training for redeployed staff optimising flexibility and care

*Optimised use of therapy time through implementing home assessments remotely

The CHA is exploring collaborations, partnerships and practice making innovation possible, across acute, community, NHS, voluntary sector, patients, staff, families.

Individual innovations do not often effect wider change. Systematic survey and analysis of positive changes is required. Findings would be disseminated throughout the CHA, CH and community services to support sustainable improvements in quality for the benefit of patients, staff, services and the wider NHS.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The CHA aims to describe, support and promote innovation developed during Covid-19 through shared learning across the network of CH in the UK.

In-depth examination of highlighted case studies will aid development of a protocol to map initiatives nationally.

Using the CHA database, we will survey Covid-19 related innovations and best practice systematically at organisational level. Data collection will be by interview using a standardised protocol or aligned online survey completion. Additional case studies may be completed following data collection.

Analysis using QI methodology on positive impact changes, methodology used, collaborations making them possible and identifying key learning will allow assessment of longer-term impact and the challenges of sustainability.

Learning will be shared across the network of Community Hospitals.

A sample will be re-surveyed after six months to see if previous changes have been embedded or altered and if innovation shared during the survey has effected new changes in practice.

How will the project be delivered?

The CHA is a membership organisation established in 1969 and is a unique voice for Community Hospitals and their services, staff, patients and communities.

The CHA has the resources of a well-established voluntary committee to fulfil this work.  The committee is multidisciplinary with wide professional backgrounds and a network of contacts. The CHA website illustrates the range of activities of the committee and members, including the Awards Programme for Innovation and Best Practice, the Research Programme working with 5 Universities, guest blogs, news items, and a resource page with a special focus on Covid-19.

A steering group including CHA committee members, members and academic colleagues will oversee the project. A part time assistant will be employed to undertake the project with support from the committee using QI methodology.  A project board would steer the work of those undertaking the study.

The steering group will meet quarterly and the project team monthly.

How is your project going to share learning?

The CHA has an established commitment to sharing learning.  During the pandemic this has been done virtually.

Learning will be shared on-line/face to face via focused seminars. Previous events have been well supported by CH staff and voluntary organisations e.g. Leagues of Friends. A Q Special Interest Group for Community Hospitals would be developed.

The project team have an active research interest and have published extensively in the field of CH care and policy (see website). A report and academic paper will be part of the output of the project. Those featured in additional case studies would be asked to write guest blogs and work would be shared using posters, infographics, case studies, forums etc.

CHA is active on social media and will use this mode to share learning and links to activity on the website

Individual lifetime membership of the CHA is free and recruitment of new members continues.

How you can contribute

  • We would welcome input from others on evaluating learning that has taken place during Covid-19
  • We would welcome input and learning from others regarding sustainability of positive impact changes once the context has changed
  • We would be interested to hear from anyone who identifies synergy with their project in order to support and share

Plan timeline

30 Sep 2020 Case Study identification commences
30 Sep 2020 Co-design survey with providers and test feasibility of study
31 Jan 2021 Learning from case studies identified
14 Mar 2021 Project Researcher Role Description completed
31 Mar 2021 If bid for funding successful advertise for Project Researcher
31 Mar 2021 Protocols for survey and interviews designed
30 Apr 2021 Community Hospital Q Special Interest Group established
30 Apr 2021 Steering and Project Group membership confirmed and meeting dates scheduled
31 May 2021 Project Researcher engaged
30 Jun 2021 Design dissemination programme including sharing emerging findings throughout the study
30 Nov 2021 Surveys and interviews complete
31 May 2022 Data Analysis complete with case studies identified
31 May 2022 Interpret and validate findings with members and steering group
31 May 2022 Themes identified
30 Jun 2022 Resurvey sample to assess sustainability
30 Sep 2022 Analysis of data from resurvey
31 Oct 2022 Interpret and validate findings with members, steering group and SIG
31 Oct 2022 Review themes
30 Nov 2022 Design learning points and share case studies e.g. infographics
31 Dec 2022 Finalise and release report, articles and material for sharing

Project updates

  • 11 Apr 2021

    It was so exciting to meet the Q Exchange Team and some of the other 29 Award Winners at the welcome event on 23.3.21

    The information on next steps and learning support was very welcome and we cannot wait to get the contracts signed and work fully underway.

    While waiting for the formalities to be concluded we have already been busy. We have updated our Information Governance policy, drafted all of our project documents, started our project group meetings, invited our Advisory Steering Group members to join (and they said yes!), drafted our participant information and identified our first pilot site. Our request for quote for a Project Researcher is out and we have already had some interest (details are on our website below)

    Our Community Hospitals Special Interest Group is live

    We have also learnt a lot:

    • Don’t underestimate the time the Q Exchange paperwork will take
    • Using the skills within your team to the utmost is helpful, having an experienced clinician with strong project management skills on our team is invaluable
    • Other people have been equally excited by our success and the project we will be undertaking and are happy to support – you just have to ask
    • The Q Exchange Team are incredibly supportive and the wider Q Community have a broad range of skills and knowledge they are happy to share
    • QI is such a good approach to sharing, learning and developing and sits neatly alongside the innovation and best practice values of the CHA
    • Sunday is not a good day to be trying to identify a tax number!

    If you want to know more about the Community Hospitals Association (CHA) head over to our website:


  1. Evelyn,

    This is a great idea and I do hope that you take it forward. If you need any process visualizations done then please let me know as I'd love to help. Good luck with your idea.


    1. Thank you Thomas. Very kind of you. Yes we would love to be in touch and take you up on that.

  2. This looks like a great idea. Have you thought about how you will entice groups/organisations to share their experiences - is there an established community of practice or culture in the community hospital network of doing this?

    1. Hi Tamar. Good question, thank you! Yes fortunately we have a very well developed network that continues to grow. Provider organisations and individual community hospitals share their experience continuously such as through our regular CHA members discussion forum by zoom, our guest blogs on our website, and our Innovations and Practice awards.  Also, as part of celebrating 50 years of the CHA, we are sharing good practice that organisations have offered us. A key feature is their response to Covid-19. We would love to extend our network further through this proposed study, learn about more examples of quality improvements and consider issues of sustainability.

  3. This sounds very interesting! Have you thought about how many case studies you will have? We will be aiming to recruit 8-10 sites for our study.

    1. Hi Michaela,

      Glad you think it is an interesting idea.

      We have a few already in the pipeline and hope to generate some more from our Innovation and Best Practice Award applications which close later this month.

      We also anticipate identifying some additional ones from the surveys as the project progresses.

      I suspect we will end up with a similar number.


  4. Hi Evelyn and Helen, I wondered if you have thought of evaluating the innovations using the Sustainability in Quality Improvement framework / sustainable value - ie. impact on health outcomes for patients and populations alongside environmental, social and financial costs/impacts? It's described more fully at and I'd be really happy to discuss if you are interested.

    1. Thanks Frances, some really interesting work on this site.

      We will be exploring it fully.



    2. Thank you.  I have had a look at the website and some of your published papers.  Thanks for directing us to this.  Very helpful. Yes we will be in touch.

  5. Guest

    We have heard from many community hospitals about their contribution and developing services during the coronavirus pandemic. It is important to collate this nationally in order to continue to promote and support care closer to home where it is possible.

    1. Thanks Trish, Community Hospitals make a vital contribution but often get lost between acute and primary care. This work would shine a spotlight on them but also promote innovative practice closer to home which is in line with health and social care agendas, supports environmental sustainability and we know that patients and communities value them as shown by the Birmingham research:



  6. I sent this to you directly...

    We have looked at staff wellbeing and job confidence in several settings. Our measures are described on

    A csae study of their use in care homes is at

    I will be glad to help further.

    1. Thank you for sharing, as Helen said really interesting.



    2. Thank you very much Tim. I found your website to be really helpful, and I have put a link to it from our CHA website

      Thank you very much for your offer of help. Yes, lets keep in touch.



  7. Hi Evelyn and Helen

    I wonder if you've connected with the Beneficial Changes network being co-ordinated by NHS England and NHS Improvement that has 16 different workstreams capturing and analysing changes and improvements that have emerged through COVID-19  and you can contact the programme team on Matthew Winn, National Director of Community Health Services and CEO of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust is leading the community services workstream.  It might be useful to see what's already been shared to inform your work?

    1. Thanks Karen for directing us there, I have located the page and will follow up.



    2. Karen  Thank you so much. This will be well worth following up. We are grateful to you.

  8. Great idea folks - this recent guidance on capturing organisational learning and sustaining change from the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors and NHS Education for Scotland may be useful:

    Good luck

    1. Thank you, just had a quick look and it seems like a great resource.



  9. Guest

    Ruth Rankine 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    Hi, can I point you this briefing from Confed community network which highlights case studies (not Covid related but still relevant)

    1. Really helpful Ruth, thank you



  10. We are working in Rugby and want to restore our local hospital to provide more services.  I know communities really value their hospitals and the quality they deliver.

    So keep up the good work on this. Small is Beautiful

    1. We would certainly agree Keith



  11. Guest

    Helen Ballam 6 months, 3 weeks ago

    I think it’s a really good idea. I have found the meetings really useful to establish contacts, share practice and learn from others. We have undergone rapid change with more to come. If the rumour around increase in district general hospitals is true, community hospitals will rise in popularity again.

    1. Thanks Helen, it is great to hear from those in Community Hopsitals that this work adds value.



  12. This is a great idea which captures the spirit of learning, sharing and building new services arising from COVID-19. You've expressed a really clear plan for carrying out the work, and have a great network to build on. If you would like more collaborators from the Q community, can I suggest you have a look at the online groups and consider posting a link to your ideas there? There is one specifically on community services, but there may also be others where you could potentially find useful connections. Best wishes, Emma

    1. Dear Emma

      Thank you so much for your comments.  We have now linked to one of the groups as you suggest. Fantastic to have support from you.  We are so impressed with the flexibility of community hospital staff and services during Covid-19 - we think it will be a fascinating study on adaptability, resilience and quality improvement.  I would love to follow this up with you if at all possible and connect further. Thank you.


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