DHU Health Care

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by DHU Health Care's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from DHU Health Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


William Tucker, Lord Lieutenant
of Derbyshire, with CEO Stephen
Bateman at the opening of
DHU’s new HQ in 2018
DHU’s Johnson Building HQ,
DHU Health Care provide a range of services, including
out-of-hours, NHS 111 and integrated urgent care across
the East Midlands and Milton Keynes. Originally operating
in Derbyshire, they have expanded into Northamptonshire,
Nottinghamshire, Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland, Lincolnshire
and Milton Keynes. Formed by the merging of two GP co-
operatives in 2006, they have been at the forefront of innovation
within the sector and were chosen to pilot the NHS 111 service.
CEO Stephen Bateman explains their rapid expansion and how
they collaborate with other local health and social care providers.
Although we had been operating since 1989, our current form was established
with the merging of two GP co-operatives in 2006. Both of these organisations
were providing out-of-hours care across Derbyshire, which we now provide as a
collective. We have grown and developed from this point, setting up additional
services and expanding across the East Midlands.
In 2010, we were chosen as a pilot organisation for NHS 111 in Derbyshire, and we
started providing community nursing services a year later. After the collapse of NHS
Direct, we picked up the majority of the NHS 111 contracts in the East Midlands
area and have been delivering these since 2013.
We have also looked to diversify our skillsets: we began delivering A&E streaming
services to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, subsequently extending this to the Royal
Derby Teaching Hospital. We also instigated a home visiting service and extended
hours clinical hubs in Erewash as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund and
the NHS England New Models of Care Vanguard programme.
»CEO: Stephen Bateman
»Founded in 1989
»Based in Derby, delivering
services across the East
Midlands and Milton Keynes
»Services: Out-of-hours medical
services, NHS 111, community
nursing, urgent care centres,
clinical advice and assessment
services, A&E primary care
streaming services, GP practices
and home visiting
»No. of employees: 1,290 and
400 sessional GPs
»No. of users: 2.5 million patient
contacts per annum, covering a
population of 5.5 million
DHU Health Care
Highlighting best practice
These urgent care services use a mixed
clinical workforce of advanced nurse
practitioners and healthcare assistants.
Our growth continued, and in 2016,
we regained the East Midlands NHS
111 contract, including Lincolnshire,
and also took on the Leicester,
Leicestershire and Rutland out-of-hours
In LLR, we have also begun to offer
integrated urgent care provision
and 24-hour home visiting services.
To support this, we have been
collaborating with local GP Federations
in Leicestershire and have established
two joint partnerships alongside urgent
care hubs.
More recently, we have expanded into
Northamptonshire and extended our
urgent care offer into Milton Keynes.
Both of these contracts are due to
commence on April 1, 2019, and we
are working to prepare for these.
As a community interest company,
we do not report to shareholders and
so we are able to place our patients
at our heart. Although our heritage is
in Derbyshire, our success has led to
expansion and significant growth: in
2014/15 our turnover was £23 million,
rising to £52 million in 2017/18.
Our current forecast for 2018/19 is
£63 million, growing to £75 million
Working to promote innovation
We work closely with the NHS to design
policy, and we are at the forefront of
integrated urgent care regulation.
Our work with the NHS means that we
have become a testbed for innovation,
specifically for the NHS 111 service. We
have also conducted pilots with clinical
pharmacists and were one of the first
NHS 111 providers to incorporate
dental nurses. We are also continually
developing our clinical assessment
services to ensure that patients can
receive clinical intervention as soon
Our findings have been included in the
new 2017 NHS guidelines concerning
integrated urgent care, and we were
involved in producing and reviewing
these. Our collaborative partnership
approach across the East Midlands
means that we are involved with
leadership throughout the area.
We have also developed strong
relationships with healthcare services
and sector leaders. We are the only
non-government body to be part of
the sustainability and transformation
partnerships board for Derbyshire, and
we are seen as a partner rather than
an independent provider.
We also have strong links with the East
Midlands Ambulance Service to ensure
that we provide the most effective
support for patients.
Mobilising contracts on time is critical
for securing staff jobs and safeguarding
services. When it is appropriate, we
partner with GP Federations. This
allows us to combine our significant
experience with their local knowledge
of the patient population, providing
a boost to our care provision. We are
seen as a major player in the field of
integrated urgent care but feel that
collaboration is the true way forward.
We strive to be financially aware at
all times. Although the quality of our
DHU Health Care
Flu Campaign Team
As a
company, we
do not report
and so we are
able to place
our patients at
our heart
service, and the care and compassion
we show to our patients, is our primary
motivation, it is essential that we remain
financially savvy. We always endeavour
to provide clear assurances to the local
community about the benefit of our
services to engender local support.
Adapting to changing NHS
One of the primary challenges we
face is the changing management of
the NHS on both local and national
levels. As we provide our service over
six sustainability and transformation
partnership areas, it is essential that we
are aligned to each NHS plan.
Our status as a growing company
brings challenges, both in terms of
recruitment and the pressure exerted
on our back office. To reduce the
impact of this, we have implemented
a divisional structure. We ensure that
local management teams are both
operationally and clinically focused in
that area.
As the length of our contracts changes,
we must adapt. Previously we had
shorter term, rolling contracts, but we
have now moved to longer contracts,
often lasting five years. While this
is challenging, it also presents an
opportunity, requiring strong business
processes and reporting to multiple
To help ease this process, we are
introducing ISO quality management
systems across our organisation to
continually improve our performance.
We are also developing a mixed clinical
workforce, including GPs, advanced
nurse practitioners, community nurses,
general nurses, clinical pharmacists and
emergency care practitioners.
Recruitment and retention of staff
is difficult in the health sector, and
there are not enough resources in
certain staff groups to deliver services
across the country. To combat this,
we are working in partnership with
Health Education England and local
universities on the development of
advanced nurse practitioner training
and clinical development opportunities.
We are working closely with our
NHS Commissioners in the design of
services using workforce development
modelling, which will support the
changes required to meet future needs
of our patients.
By maintaining our close relationships
with Clinical Commissioning Groups
and local NHS and social care providers,
we are sure that we will be able to
continue our growth. As our provision
expands, pressure will increase on our
services, but we are confident that we
will be able to meet these challenges
and remain at the forefront of the
sector for years tocome.
Our work with
the NHS
means we
have become
a testbed for
specifically for
the NHS 111
Magnetta Archer-Dyer,
Nurse Advisor for DHU
111 with managers and
clinical colleagues at the
Loughborough Urgent
Care Centre


This article was sponsored by DHU Health Care. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister