Organisational integration and implementing new care models in South Devon and Torbay

Organisational integration and implementing new care models in South Devon and Torbay

With an ageing population there is an increase in the number of people living with one or more long-term conditions; health and social care services are coming under increasing pressure. Rising and increasingly complex demand in a time of austerity is forcing health and social care services to re-think and re-design the provision of service to assure good quality of care whilst ensuring services remains affordable.

Services in Torbay and South Devon are known for innovations in integrated health and social care. In October 2015, the NHS hospital and integrated community services merged to create an Integrated Care Organisation (ICO). The ICO and partner organisations have started implementing around 30 service innovations as part of its new care model, which seeks to deliver person-centred co-ordinated care.

Amongst these are: 1. the enhanced intermediate care service (EIC) looking to avoid hospital admission or bridging journeys back to people’s homes, and 2. rolling out multi-disciplinary health and wellbeing teams including wellbeing coordinators (employed by the voluntary sector), ideally preventing people to become unwell in the first place.

The overall approach includes researching the ICO 'case' across its five localities with a mix of combining stories and numbers, building on existing service evaluations, doing additional research interviews, observations and workshops, and looking at documents. This will be conducted by researchers-in-residence, i.e. University researchers with honorary status based permanently with NHS teams in South Devon and Torbay. This role involves working together with key stakeholders and members of the public to develop theory for how the system is responding to the new care model and its potential impact on the experience of person centred, coordinated care.


Sheena Asthana
Professor of Health Policy
School of Government
University of Plymouth
10 Portland Villas
Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Tel: +44 7703 608102

Richard Byng
Primary Care Group
NIHR ARC South West Peninsula (also known as PenARC)
Clinical Trials and Population Studies
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry
Room N14, ITTC Building
Plymouth Science Park, Derriford
Plymouth, Devon, PL6 8BX

The evaluation team are:

Dr Julian Elston and Dr Felix Gradinger
Researchers in Residence (Integrated Care)
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
Horizon Centre, Torbay Hospital, Lowes Bridge, Torquay TQ2 7BP

Tel. +44 1803 210552

The two researchers-in-residence are formally line-managed by Sheena Asthana and supervised by Richard Byng. 

Informal supervision within the trust is provided by the Associate Director at the Horizon Institute, Susan Martin, based at the Horizon Centre.

Tel: +44 1803 656690; +44 7825503231
Quality Improvement training and support:


This three year research project from 2016-2018 is funded by the Torbay Medical Research Fund, a registered medical charity, following a joint application from the Plymouth University Primary Care Unit and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The Plymouth University research team has also received the equivalent of 1 year’s funding from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (TSD NHSFT) to support the evaluation of the organisation’s new care model. This is not a research project, but the researchers intend to use the data from the ICO’s evaluations to support and inform its research.

Richard Byng handing out home-baked ‘Linzer Torte’ at a multidisciplinary team workshop in the community – the cake and CPD certificates went down a treat!

Smiles all round and on equal footing – can you spot the two GPs in the photo?