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Frequently asked questions

What is Productive Commmunity Services?
The Productive Community Services programme provides an evidence-based approach to improve the way we work across the range of services and pathways of community care.

With community services playing a crucial role in the shape of the new NHS, and care shifting away from acute services, the new Productive Community Services programme from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement is a timely opportunity to revitalise the workforce and increase NHS capacity to care for patients in local settings.

It will:

  • Increase patient-facing contact time
  • Reduce inefficient work practices
  • Improve the quality and safety of care
  • Re-vitalise the workforce
  • Put staff at the forefront of redesigning their services.

By increasing community staff understanding of how they are performing, giving them access to improvement tools and meaningful real-time information, it allows them to redesign working practices, freeing up more time to spend with patients, and leadership, the Productive series is now being expanded into a range of healthcare settings.

Please see our introductory video
How does is work? What is the house?
The Productive Community Services programme is a scalable, team based application of Lean in community care based settings

The Team Leaders in your organisation will implement a structured series of thirteen self-directed learning modules with coaching from your organisation

The modules shown in our Productive Community Services house build from the bottom left upwards in a defined sequence.

Your executives and your leadership team will play a pivotal role in coaching and enabling your team leaders in implementing this large scale organisational change programme.

Executive Leaders Guide Programme Leaders Guide Strategic Positioning Technology Team Leaders Guide Patient Perspective Well Organised Working Environment Knowing How We Are Doing Patient Status at a Glance Toolkit

Who is the programme for?
Productive Community Services is a field focused, community team based programme. Suitable for implementation by different teams from District Nurses through to Occupational Therapists, from traditional to rapid response and from specialist to generalist clinical teams.

It supports all our staff across NHS organisations who deliver frontline community services such as community nurses, therapists and health visitors.  It focuses on those areas for improvement where we can make the biggest difference most quickly for the largest number of patients.

Visit our Get Started page to find out more
What are the benefits of the programme?
Testing has indicated that community service teams can harness substantial productivity gains with Productive Community Services


 Patient facing time increased from 21% to 35%
 Development site testing, Planning Our Workload module

 Driving distances reduced by 21%
 Development site testing, Planning Our Workload module

 Number of visits a team’s capable of increased by 25% (for a typical team that is 2100  extra visits/year)
 Development site testing, Planning Our Workload module

 'Before No visit’ referrals down 36%
 Development site testing, Working Better with Our Key Care Partners module

 Time spent managing referrals down 83%
 Development site testing, Working Better with Our Key Care Partners module

 Team morale up 93%
 Development site testing, Working Better with Our Key Care Partners module

 Interruptions reduced by 52%
 Development site testing, Patient Status at a Glance module

 Stock reduced by 75% (value £3000)
 Whole Organisation site testing, Well Organised Working Environment module

 Time spent looking for stock items reduced by 66%
  Development site testing, Well Organised Working Environment module

Please see our introductory video.
What are the links between PCS and TCS?
The Transforming Community Services (TCS) programme from the Department of Health aims to improve community services so that they can provide modern, personalised, and responsive care of a consistently high standard.

The ambitions of TCS are to get the basics right, use evidence-based practice and put front line staff at the forefront of the design and delivery of services. PCS can be the enabler for these aims.

For the launch of Productive Community Services, the Department of Health and the NHS Institute have joined forces to make a greater impact. The programme will support TCS’s ambitions to:
  • Getting the basics right – developing effective processes
  • Making everywhere as good as the best  - creating improvement capability and continuous improvement culture
  • Delivering evidence based practice – evidence based approach, standardised care procedures
  • Developing and supporting people to design, deliver and lead high quality community services – front line staff empowerment

For more information please visit the Transforming Community Services (TCS) website
Does the NHS Institute offer any support in implementing the programme?
Productive Community Services has been designed so that front line teams can implement the modules themselves.  The programme includes a series of guides to support the Executive Leadership in the organisation.  

However, we have learned that many organisations require additional support to ensure that the programme is set up, implemented and sustained successfully.  To meet this requirement the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has developed the ‘Implementation Support Package’ (ISP).

The Implementation Support Package will simplify the implementation process, ease the learning curve and deliver the benefits more quickly (and reliably) in a sustainable way.

It will also:

  • realise your productivity gains sooner
  • enhance the speed and effectiveness of your implementation 
  • ensure effective capability is being developed within the organisation 
  • help you plan to embed improvement skills and sustain productivity improvements 
  • enable you to build upon the success of other organisations through networking opportunities 
  • ensure you benefit from the experience of those who have designed and implemented the modules 
  • develop more effective executive team engagement 
  • ensure frontline teams gain access to expert knowledge and direct support

For more information, please contact us. 
How many box sets are NHS England organisations entitled to for free?
Qualifying  NHS organisations (e.g. Community Providers and Care Trusts) are entitled to 3 executive  box sets and 5 team box sets.  If more are required, box sets can be ordered at cost price from the web site.

I do not work for the NHS, or work outside England but am interested in PCS, am I able to order a box set?

If you are linked to the NHS you can get your box set through your NHS England  partner organisation.

Our international department deals with all arrangements with non NHS organisations.

For more information, you can contact the Productives support team on 02476 475 945 or email us.

How long does it take a team to do all the modules?
The speed at which your teams go through the modules is largely dependent upon the quality of the leadership and support they receive and the amount of time they can dedicate to the implementation of Productive Community Services. With some modules the teams will progress through quite quickly, others they will need more time to collect data, to remove any internal barriers or to engage with others. It is hard to define a specific timeframe for completion of modules, but for project planning purposes, we would suggest you allow 13-15 months (approximately 60 weeks) for completion of all 9 modules and the patient perspective. Therefore, on average you are looking at 6 weeks per module.

It should be noted however, that the purpose of Productive Community Services is for frontline staff to be engaged in an organisational-wide change programme which will vastly increase the organisation’s capacity and capability for continuous improvement. In other words, this work is ongoing - it creates new ways of working. Once the module has been worked through by the teams, the measures, systems and new ways of working should be revisited on a regular basis to ensure they are being maintained and if there is any way the process can be further enhanced. Once the house has been 'completed' teams should revisit the modules based on the learning's they have developed to make the next steps improvements.

Is the Productive Community Services programme appropriate for Community Mental Health Services? As a Community Mental Health team manager how would I start to apply the principles of the programme with the teams I manage? Is the programme free?
Yes, the initial box sets are free to Community Providers and Mental Health organisations in NHS England. The programme has been designed for all community teams and would be suitable for Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs). If you have not done so already, it would also be worthwhile looking at the Productive Mental Health Ward, as these are designed for in-patient units.  If you are interested in finding out more, or wish to discuss the options with someone in our team, please contact us.