Would you like MASH with that, sir…?

An unlikely title for a blog about the North West IISaM launch event I know but interest in the Leicestershire MASH (Multi Agency information Sharing Hub) was high and provided lots of opportunities to question fresh faces and procure ideas for developing partnerships and nod sagely at the shared experiences and difficulties of sharing information.

Stephen PresentingStephen Curtis started the ball rolling with a look at the strategic reasons for starting up the MASH and the process of thinking big but starting small.  He talked about capitalising on and enhancing existing networks to enable information on families to be drawn together in a single report.  The vision was clear, it just needed to happen

Nicola Underdown gave a ‘Life at the coalface’ view of the Leicestershire MASH with an interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of turning Stephen’s strategic vision into a reality.  I think everyone at the event will take away the message that it takes time to achieve the goal of the MASH but the idea of going live with a process still under development thus allowing the flexibility to respond to the needs of the practitioners was key to the success of the MASH.

Check out the full case study on the website

MASH full case study

The alternative title for this blog could have been ‘But where are all the babies…..’ as the other case study we concentrated on was the sharing of ante natal and post natal contact details between the NHS and the Local Authority children’s centres.  this sharing enables children’s centres to work with pregnant women and new parents at an early stage helping to reduce traumatic and costly interventions.  The great thing about this case study was having Health Service practitioners and midwives telling the story from their point of view.

Check out the full case study on the website and the presentations for this part of the event.

Ante natal post natal data sharing Case Study (pdf 359KB)

Ante natal post natal data sharing presentations from North West Launch Event (pdf 916KB)

Anne Caroline speakingWe started off with Caroline Smith who, in keeping with the partnership approach to the day, worked with me to talk about the importance of getting the right people together at the start of the project.  We got to see just how competitive the delegates were by asking them to list all the people they Group general 2thought should be involved.  The stakes were high – a box of maltesers to the winner.  There were lots of good ideas and people really thought widely but even the best group couldn’t manage to list all of the 23 people we needed to make this work.


After a look at some innovative thinking around the funding of system changes Fay Wanless took the stage to talk about how this worked from a midwives point of view.  She talked about how we worked as a 3 person team to draw in the 23 people needed from the Faye speakingNHS, Local Authorities and others to make the process work.  Fay talked about the benefits to women of having the children’s centres provide help with parenting, healthy eating and other services and how midwives are happy to facilitate the sharing of contact details.  Often the excuse for not doing this type of sharing is that midwives and health visitors would be unreceptive, this is far from the case at Pennine Acute Trust.

We rounded the show off with a panel discussion and the questions showed an interest in the topics of the day and how they could be applied to different situations, working with the NHS to access accident and emergency data for example.  There was also discussion about the ongoing frustrations of information governance officers not being included until too late in the process.

Closing remarks from Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood were encouraging and his ongoing committment and enthusiasm for sharing information was clear in his promotion of the Fusion Hub which gives a space for practitioners from partner organisations to work together.

Police headquarters Newton Heath
Photo by Gene Hunt via Flickr

Thanks must go to Claire Brown Allen who gave us the use of their facilities at the new Greater Manchester Police Headquarters, Newton Heath, Manchester.  The facilities and the food were really good and the staff could not have been more helpful.  Thanks also to i-network for their help and support in drawing the event together.

Overall a successful and enjoyable day which showcased the work of the Improving Information Sharing and Management project and drove home the message that people are the key to sharing information from visioning to mainstreaming and beyond!