Samantha Jones, a member of the 2017 Sciana cohort, is the former director of the New Care Models Programme at NHS England

Samantha Jones - “We should be looking out and across to learn from other health and care systems”


Former director of New Care Models Program at NHS England offers insight into digital solutions to health care services

“Never settle for second best.” These words, spoken by Samantha Jones, former director of the New Care Models Programme, NHS England, encapsulate her philosophy on life and work. Having started her career as an adult and paediatric nurse, Jones is driven to provide high-quality care. After 29 years in the health sector, those values haven’t changed.

Jones is a member of the 2017 cohort of Sciana: The Health Leaders Network, an initiative held in collaboration with Salzburg Global Seminar. This network is a joint effort between three health care organisations based in three different countries: the Health Foundation (UK), Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany), and Careum Stiftung (Switzerland). Together they convene experts in health care policy and innovation and discuss significant issues in the field.

Jones exemplifies a passion for open communication and innovation. One example of this is “Onion,” an initiative which was led by the teams at West Hertfordshire Hospitals which came about due to significant safety issues, and which subsequently won a national patient safety award where Jones was chief executive in 2014.

“I recognised that it was both learned helplessness [and a] cultural response… Systems didn’t work in the way that they needed to from a member of staff’s perspective… we met at 8 o’clock every morning. The one rule was that the executive team had to be there and people came with the answers to the same question every day… ‘Are there any issues of patient safety? What can we do today to make a difference for tomorrow?’… and we solved the issues that day… We didn’t have any action plans; we had lots of post-it notes. In retrospect… it empowered people to make the changes that they were actually able to make and culturally gave the organisation a sense of belief and pride.”

The goal was to make a difference to people using their services. Ultimately, it allowed staff to address concerns in a healthy and transparent manner - a project Jones said taught her invaluable lessons which she still practices today.

Jones is a true visionary when it comes to developing new systems of care. She led the national programme working with people across the country who were implementing new models of care. These vanguards were set up to prototype the new models of care, which were subsequently taken forward by sustainability and transformation plans, the approach to integration being carried out across the country.

In her current role, she works independently to support the implementation of these models and put them into practice. As part of this role, she said, “I chair a number of Local Care Networks (partnerships)… which is both the voluntary sector, public sector, private sector, community NHS and local authorities working together to provide care to the population that they serve. This requires people working across their institution and organisational boundaries, understanding the data, and supporting individuals to make the changes in the way that are needed.”

As the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary next month, Jones expressed her deep-set pride in the NHS, adding it should continue to adapt, revolutionise and evolve as a leading system worldwide.

“I think we should be looking out and across to learn from other health and care systems. We can’t continue doing the things that we’ve always done in the way that we’ve always done them. We need to be applying value to everything that we do across the systems and supporting the development of integrated care because that is what our population is demanding. We should be very proud of all the massive achievements: first kidney transplant, first IVF baby, etc., but also looking forward is not being complacent and building on systems that we are proud of for future generations.

Jones noted the precious opportunities that have been offered her through the Sciana Network. She emphasised the impact meeting such a diverse group of “people from different walks of life and different experiences” has had on her views on new care development.

“It’s really broadened my horizons and my approach to collaboration and systems in a way that I hadn’t really thought about,” Jones concluded. “I have… a deep-rooted partnership built with a couple of members of the Sciana network, admittedly from the UK, but that will stand, I think, over the next 20, 30 years. I think we’ve really bonded over a number of things… it’s given me an ability to have a network and reach out to people that come from different places, so I wouldn’t hesitate to contact any member of the Sciana Network, as a result of doing Sciana, even if I haven’t known them particularly well whilst we had been at the Schloss.”

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