Cross-sector support to care homes in Leeds

Nicola Wake, Specialist Pharmacist: Lead Pharmacy Integration Project, Specialist Pharmacy ServiceExample from Heather Edmonds, Head of Clinical Pharmacy, Leeds GP Confederation, Heather Smith, Consultant Pharmacist: Older People/ Interfaces of Care, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and The Leeds GP Confederation primary carePublished
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The Leeds Senior Leadership Team (SLT) have tackled their support to care homes collaboratively, with oversight from the following local leaders:

  • Chief Pharmacist Acute Hospital: Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Chief Pharmacist Mental Health Trust: Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Head of Clinical Pharmacy: The Leeds GP Confederation, NHS Leeds CCG
  • Acting Head of Medicines Optimisation Commissioning: NHS Leeds CCG
  • Head of Medicines Management: Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • CEO: Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire
  • Academic staff: Leeds and Bradford Universities

Why this example is important

It is important to highlight the success of collaborative, cross-sector working to tackle key issues such as pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic; particularly as services become more integrated.

Heather Edmonds, Head of Clinical Pharmacy at The Leeds GP Confederation said that working as a citywide senior leadership team helps to understand each other’s challenges, breaks down organisational barriers and allows the development of shared work streams.


What were you hoping to achieve?

The development and implementation of an effective and responsive pharmacy service to local care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic using a system-wide approach in order to avoid destabilising other areas also under a great amount of pressure from the pandemic.

What have you implemented

An operational team works under the oversight of the SLT to ensure the delivery of the care home program of work. This team includes representatives from each of the organisations represented at SLT, supported by a project manager.

The pharmacy program of work reports into the Citywide Silver Command Care Home meetings. Pharmacy support is a section within the action plan for this meeting.

What have you achieved?

The support itself consists of a city-wide team of over 70 pharmacists and technicians working to quickly identify the gaps in support currently being provided. Some of these roles are cross-sector roles between primary and secondary care (including mental health) which helps individuals recognise how each sector can support this work.

Due to the size of the task, the Leeds GP confederation team (which includes the MOCH team) needed to engage the support of the wider pharmacy workforce which included practice, PCN and commissioner employed pharmacy teams as well as secondary care. This team is supported among others by Heather Smith.

Challenges and tips for adoption

The challenges described by working collaboratively across sectors to support care homes include:

  • Engagement with senior leaders across organisations
  • Asking for help – there can be difficulty approaching the senior group and identifying a need/ gap within your own organisation which requires support across the system
  • Support of Clinical Directors (of PCNs) – there can be difficulty in some clinical directors agreeing that support to care homes is a priority and they may be reluctant to dedicate staff resource, particularly in PCNs without or with few care homes.