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Buurtzorg founder visits UK

December 19, 2018

Jos de Blok, the founder of Dutch homecare Buurtzorg, has met some of the teams pioneering the method of self-management on a recent visit to the UK.

Buurtzorg (Dutch for ‘Neighbourhood Care’) was established 10 years ago in the Netherlands. It started with one team of four nurses and now has 950 teams and 10,000 nurses and nurse assistants providing more than half of Dutch homecare. It is described as a nurse-led model of holistic health and social care and self-managed teams and claims to have revolutionised community care in the Netherlands. Patient satisfaction rates are said to be the highest of any healthcare organisation and staff recruitment and retention rates are high. Financial savings are also reported to have also been impressive. Buurtzorg teams are self-managed, supported by coaches with small back-office support teams and bespoke IT.

During the two-day visit, Mr de Blok met with nurses and other care professionals working in Buurtzorg pilots across the UK. Many are part of the Transforming Integrated Care in the Community (TICC) project, funded by the EU Interreg 2 Seas Programme. Medway Community Health, Kent Community Health Foundation Trust and Kent County Council are the three UK ‘delivery partners’ participating in TICC and implementing the model. They are being supported by Buurtzorg Britain and Ireland to better understand how the Buurtzorg Model can work in a UK context.

Mr de Blok also spoke with representatives from health and social care organisations from across the UK to share his experience about what it takes to lead organisations that operate without traditional management layers. It is hoped the visit will encourage more organisations within UK health and social care sectors to explore a way of working that integrates health and social care to greatly improve patient experiences.

Paul Jansen, chief operating officer of Buurtzorg Britain and Ireland said it was always inspirational to hear from Jos de Blok and to remember the first principles that created Buurtzorg in terms of patient centred nursing, self-management and reduced hierarchies.

“The organisations that are exploring and piloting Buurtzorg here in the UK are testing radical solutions to the challenges we face in health and social care,” said Mr Jansen.

“It is fantastic for them to have the opportunity to meet Jos and discuss how we are developing Buurtzorg in a UK context.’ Buurtzorg Britain and Ireland is working with over 20 teams across the UK to pilot the Buurtzorg model of homecare provision within existing health and social care systems.

Jos de Blok speaking to health and social care professionals trialling Buurtzorg in the UK.

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