Growing Innovations – only by scaling up innovative, preventative, forms of care can we reduce the demands on the health and care system

Ewan King profile picture

19 March 2019

Ewan King
Chief operating officer
Social Care Institute for Excellence


A year ago we asked a group of service users the question: ‘What would a transformed system of health, care and support be like for people who use services and carers?’ The stories are in a report Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Nesta and Shared Lives published last year, and describe visions of people receiving coordinated, personalised health and care which supported them to live a good life. For Janine, for example, who experiences depression and has a son with a learning disability, she wanted a social circle who could support her, and freedom to use a personal budget to find the right support for her son.

However, sadly for most people, this vision of a better place does not always exist. Instead there can be poor quality, disjointed and insufficient health and care services. ‘We are stuck in a care crisis’ runs the narrative.

What can we do about this? At SCIE, along with our colleagues at Think Local Act Person and Shared Lives Plus, we think we need to support local areas – that is, commissioners, excellent innovative providers and citizens. We want to work together to take what we know works - and there are great models of care - and grow them to scale. To help with this, we have been funded by Department of Health and Social Care to establish an Innovation Network; to explore the best ways to scale innovation.

We want to work together to take what we know works - and there are great models of care - and grow them to scale.

Ewan King    Chief operating officer

Clearly we have struck a chord. We have 20 local areas and 30 providers in the initial network and over 500 interested organisations and individuals keen to take part in the future. National organisations like NHS Providers, the Local Government Association and NHS England are providing support. It is a truly whole systems endeavour.

Together, we can transform health care but only if we can unpack what areas are already doing to make progress; finding out what they have done to make that progress, and then share this learning.

Ewan King    Chief operating officer

Together, we can transform health care but only if we can unpack what areas are already doing to make progress; finding out what they have done to make that progress, and then share this learning. This is transformative change, like in Somerset, one of the network members, which has reformed a broken home care system by supporting over 300 micro enterprises to grow and provide personalised care. Or like the City of York, which is reducing demand for ‘paid for’ social care through an asset-based approach, led and delivered by the voluntary sector.

More importantly, this network is part of a wider effort, linking to initiatives like Social Care Future, to create a grassroots movement for transformation. This movement will not simply push for national change, but work with each other to deliver change on the ground.

People told us a year ago how they wanted a health and care system transformed in the future. The Social Care Innovation Network will play a role in helping turn these aspirations into reality.

About the author

Ewan King profile picture

Ewan King
Chief operating officer

Ewan King joined SCIE in September 2014 and leads the organisation’s business development, marketing, research, consultancy and communications functions. Ewan is also the engagement lead for the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care. Ewan leads SCIE’s work on integration of health and social care, personalised care, asset based approaches, innovation and children’s social care. Ewan has led SCIEs work for the DHSC which commissioned SCIE to produce a national framework for understanding and measuring integration, and leads NHS England’s BCF National Support Programme. Ewan has been director of research at the OPM Group, an employee owned research organisation and consultancy. Before joining OPM, Ewan worked as a researcher for the Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP. Ewan was until recently a trustee of the Charity Penrose, which seeks to re-integrate ex-offenders and people with mental health conditions into society. He was educated at the London School of Economics and Warwick University.

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