International health commentator Professor Don Berwick, President and CEO at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, was welcomed to the UK this week to hear how Better Care Together initiatives are helping to improve healthcare across the Morecambe Bay area.

Prof Berwick, who is supporting the NHS New Care Models team by seeing how Vanguards are contributing to developing new ways of working, began his day at Westgate Primary School in Morecambe, where he got a first-hand experience of the ‘Run a Mile’ initiative which encourages primary school aged children to exercise every day.

Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund accompanied Don Berwick on the day and after their trip back to school, they received a live demonstration of Millom’s telehealth system in action.

The equipment allows patients in in Millom to speak to specialists at Furness General Hospital, in Barrow – which is a 50 minute drive away.

The service aims to deliver faster access for people to the most appropriate healthcare professional and where possible reduce the time and effort required for them in order to do so.

Using the telehealth equipment based in Lancaster our visitors were able to virtually meet members of the community group in Millom known as the Millom Health Action Group, Alison Redshaw, GP Practice Manager and Claire Morris, Community Paramedic, who were all based at Waterloo House GP Surgery in Millom. This enabled them to hear all about the community led health initiatives taking place in Millom to improve the health of local people.

Also during his visit Prof Berwick was given a demonstration of the Advice and Guidance system – a system which has meant 1,500 people have been able to be treated closer to home and avoid a visit to hospital during 2016.