Working in partnership at a systems level

Many NHS organisations are working hard to shield staff, patients and their local communities from the impact of increased prices.

3 April 2023

Working at a system level means organisations can share their expertise and learn what others are doing. This means better experiences for patients and staff. It is also important to remember that your staff and patients are part of the community. Looking after your community will have a positive impact on population health outcomes.

When adopting a systems-wide working approach, we recommend you follow the below principles in order to implement new strategies and approaches. We see these as the basics of good collaboration.

We have delivered a cost-of-living improvement programme in partnership with the Innovation Unit. This programme supports and encourages NHS employers from across the country to take a strategic, systems approach to responding to the rising cost of living to deliver long-term solutions and benefits for staff.


Emerging practice and case studies

  • Oxford University Hospitals Trust has worked with citizens advice to map the local authority and find the gaps and the specific demographics to target when recruiting.

  • The Black Country and West Birmingham ICS has taken a system-wide approach to delivering solutions in people and workforce planning.

  • Midlands Partnership is working at a systems level and has introduced a wellbeing approach called SOOTHE, this is an empowering framework for individual, team, and organisational approaches to wellbeing. It includes a set of wellbeing resources/ support available – including wellbeing conversations. The approach will be rolled out by Midlands Partnership and the systems around it.

Key tools and resources

We’ve created a cost-of-living hub with asks of government, policy explainers and examples of emerging practice by our members on the themes of food insecurity; fuel poverty; and mental health, with more to come.

Our supporting and influencing work

The NHS Confederation has been working to influence government to reduce the impact of the cost of living for healthcare staff, patients and communities, 

  • When the cost of petrol skyrocketed last year, health leaders called on government to make urgent uplifts to the nationally-set mileage reimbursement rates.
  • When energy bills were set to rise to as high as £4,266 per year, the NHS Confederation wrote to the Chancellor warning of the dangers of fuel poverty, and wrote a policy long read setting out the impact cold homes would have on the health system.