Will Buurtzorg be key to success of Suffolk and North East Essex STP?

 Tony Durcan 10 Nov 2017

Buurtzorg might sound like a character in the latest Star Wars film, but it’s actually a model of care being piloted in West Suffolk, linked to the STP.

Translated from the Dutch, it means “neighbourhood care”. So why it is being explored in relation to the STP is easy to guess, with its emphasis on care in the community.

The Buurtzorg concept isn’t new to the UK as we have seen different pilots in other locations such as Tower Hamlets. Last year a collective group from Suffolk area spent a few days in Netherlands exploring Buurtzorg and have agreed to test it out locally.

The key partners include West Suffolk CCG, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council. They were supported by the East of England LGA who first discovered this via UK Buurtzorg partner Public World. The Buurtzorg model grew from the vision of nurse Jos De Blok to tackle ongoing concerns in the provision of care, such as the fragmentation of prevention, treatment and care, a shortage of care providers, lowering quality and increasing costs of care. This also included lack of information about quality outcomes in relation to the cost of care per client.

Health is paid in the Netherlands by private insurance. Buurtzorg started in 2006 with a team of just four nurses working closely with GPs and delivering community care services in the Netherlands. By 2015 this has increased to over 9,000 working in 800 teams working with 70,000 patients. The nurses are supported by around 45 back office staff only.

We do need to be careful of the definition of “nurse” as most of the care is around social care. The key to this approach is that the model empowers individuals, in this case nurses, to deliver all the care the patient requires. Nurses work in self-managed teams of up to 12 professionals who provide care for 40 to 50 clients in a specific locality.

The nurses are “generalists” taking care of a wide range of patients and conditions. They are highly qualified - 70% to bachelor level. This model is being discussed within our Norfolk and Suffolk branches. It does throw up some significant challenges to the current model of nursing care, and starts to update the old concept of a family nurses.

This model is a complete blending of social/community and health care and mirrors the ambitions of the STP. We will continue to monitor how the model impacts the STP.

Page last updated - 12/02/2019