Case Study - Wakefield Integrated Substance Misuse Service (WISMS)

An investment of expertise, energy and resource commitment from three partner organisations, aiming to achieve a radical change in care for substance misusers through positive and effective change in culture and leadership

What was the issue?

WISMS is the NHS component of a multi agency partnership which includes the third sector, the local mental health trust, the local authority and criminal justice organisations in the Wakefield district.  WISMS provides treatment and care for substance misusers and offenders (adults and young people) working directly with and on behalf of GPs.

In 2007, NHS organisational and policy changes in this field were placing a significant focus on fitness for purpose, and required WISMS to adopt a more business orientated approach to managing the needs of service users.  Healthskills were commissioned by WISMS in conjunction with the support of a commercial partner, Schering Plough to develop an innovative project to deliver, measure and replicate tangible outcomes for service users.

The aims of the project were:

  • To develop competence and confidence across the WISMS partnership to initiate and lead service change
  • To engage service users, clinicians and managers across all disciplines within the broad substance misuse arena to improve networks and partnership working
  • To develop a set of markers that will measure impact on outcomes, and provide a ‘dashboard’ that will meet the expectations of commissioners, the needs of the service users and the ambitions of the service providers
What did Healthskills do?

The core elements of the programme have involved:

  • Diagnosis and assessment: Benchmarking of existing service outcomes and stakeholder mapping, interviewing and feedback
  • An ‘empowering’ leadership programme to develop knowledge, capability and confidence, and including strategic coaching and mentoring
  • A programme of events to engage and develop service users
  • Development of a balanced scorecard that reflects the outcomes of an exemplar service for substance misusers, focusing on the user experience; individual health and wellbeing; impact on communities and social return on investment.
What is different as a result?

The programme has provided an outstanding improvement in leadership and  communication across multi professional groups, evidenced by greater personal accountability to provide a better substance misuse service in Wakefield, and a wish to challenge the status quo.

There is greater understanding and integration of commissioning in substance misuse and services for vulnerable people.

Service users are more actively involved in driving policy at all levels, including commissioning and shaping services

WISMS successfully applied for, and achieved Integrated Care Organisation status in April 2009, one of only 16 healthcare partnerships in England to do so.

What our client said

“I feel immensely privileged to have, through what might best be described as a series of serendipitous events, been able to be involved in the Healthskills Empowering Leadership Programme…

… overall I have felt increasingly more comfortable with myself and my role as “leader” and marvelled in the way in which so much personal achievement and personal change has been gained by so many of the participants on the ELP in such a short time …

… the ELP is about achievement at all levels – this has been a lesson in the importance of celebrating achievement, of whatever kind – helping individuals acknowledge what it Is, how to continue to aspire toward it and not being afraid to acknowledge it. A  lesson in watching how, when given the opportunity to step out, stand back, reflect within an evidence based framework individuals regardless of their role can all start to make significant achievements toward their goals – what power to effect change!”

Dr Linda Harris, Clinical Director, WISMS

Healthskills quotes and tesimonials

Healthskills is a member of EMCCHealthskills is a member of EMCC and can guarantee that any employee, associate or anyone else acting on their behalf as a coach or mentor is subject to and has agreed to abide by the EMCC Code of Ethics