Case study

Pathfinder Healthcare Developments

A CIC that delivers innovative community health services.

Pathfinder Healthcare Developments (PHD) was set up in 2006 by Dr Niti Pall and colleagues to deliver excellence in primary medical care for Smethwick in Sandwell near Birmingham. It was originally founded as a limited-by-share company to develop primary healthcare in light of future restructuring by the Department of Health.

This structure enabled local GP practices to try out new ways of providing healthcare services by focusing on hard-to-reach communities and breaking down the barriers to essential services. In practice, this has meant working with hospitals and medical staff to provide a range of hospital services in PHD’s local health centres.

This benefits patients because they don’t have to travel as far to get treatment and offers a stimulating working environment for clinical and non-clinical staff, who can develop specialist skills and services.

PHD has been operating as a community interest company since January 2008 and is owned by Cape Hill and Smethwick Medical Centres.

This puts PHD in a strong position when bidding for public service contracts. It has been successful in winning contracts from the Department of Health and the local primary care trust (PCT).

So what has been the company’s greatest achievement to date? “Redesigning the services we provide and creating ownership of these changes by involving the patients,” says Ms Dee Kyne, Business Director at PHD. Examples include the Greenfields Project, which provides specialised healthcare for refugees, homeless people and asylum seekers.

For the past three years, PHD has been working with Aetna UK on redesigning primary healthcare. It has used data gathered from practice, local authority, PCT, Suss, and further patient experience data to completely redesign the primary care offering at its practices. This led to a Health Services Journal award in 2010 for innovation in ‘Managing Long Term Conditions’ and a reduction in hospital utilisation of 40 per cent by the targeted cohort. This is effective population management developed into whole system thinking, supported by clear implementation, producing effective outcomes.

Pathfinder has launched a primary healthcare social enterprise – Pathfinder–health4all. Its vision is to dramatically reduce ill health events for all, with special emphasis on the aspiring urban communities via a high impact primary health solution, and to set up an effective, scalable health business, delivering high quality, low cost primary health care. PHD is working with partners and training institutions to establish a workforce of general practitioners, nurses and healthcare assistants.

As for the future, PHD is planning to build a wellbeing centre that combines health, business, community and work opportunities in the centre of Smethwick.

Name Pathfinder Healthcare Developments
Location Smethwick , near Birmingham
Company structure CIC limited by shares
Community interest statement To deliver extended primary healthcare redesign, delivering innovative solutions to health and social care delivery; increasing access to health and wellbeing services, with a particular focus on health inequalities; delivering direct, long-term health improvement and length-of-life outcomes to communities.

Find out more about Pathfinder Healthcare Developments

Published 12 November 2013