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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, and there are 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 the collaborations making innovation possible, across acute, community, NHS, voluntary sector, staff and 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 new ways of working 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 across CH nationally.

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

Reflecting on positive impact changes, 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 CH.

A sample will be re-surveyed after six months to see if previous changes have been embedded and if innovation shared via 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 CH 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 a wide 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, the guest blogs, news items, and resources 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 conduct 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 is committed to sharing learning.  During the pandemic this has been done virtually..

Learning will be shared via seminars, on-line and face to face. Previous events have been well supported by CH staff and voluntary organisations e.g. Leagues of Friends. Q Community members will be encouraged to access these events. A Q Special Interest Group for CH 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 share work.

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

  • Welcome general feedback on the concept
  • Welcome input from others on evaluating learning that has taken place during Covid-19
  • Welcome input and learning from others regarding sustainability of positive impact changes once the context has changed

Plan timeline

13 Sep 2020 Annual Awards underway, likely to generate potential case studies
13 Sep 2020 Case Study identification underway
31 Jan 2021 Confirmation of learning from case studies
1 Apr 2021 Survey/Interviews ready to launch if funding available


  1. 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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