INSIGHT 2020 – Week 2: The role of the Decision Support Network


The Midlands Decision Support Unit (DSU) Network is a new and emerging approach to bring together analytical resource across a region, develop analytical skills collectively and share learning from analytical projects.

This week’s theme describes how the network will operate, shares some of the learning from systems who have adopted this approach already and describes how evidence will underpin the Network’s approach to decision-making. 

The role of the DSU network

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This session, hosted by the Strategy Unit, described the development of the network and the importance of analytics, evaluation and evidence for addressing the current challenges faced by health and care in the region. It contains a series of conversations with leads responsible for DSU development in local systems. They explored the range of progress and learning to date, challenges faced and the next steps planned, as well as advice and reflections for those developing DSU-type arrangements. 

Speakers: Paul Maubach (Chair, Midlands DSU Network), Peter Spilsbury (Director, The Strategy Unit), Alison Wynn (Assistant Director of Public Health, Derby City Council), Ruth Lemiech (Director of Strategy & Transformation, NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG) and Lucy Heath (Academy Director, Healthier Futures, Black Country and West Birmingham) 

How do we know what we know?

An interactive presentation where we introduced our Decision Support Centre (DSC) evidence team and shared how we will be supporting the DSU Network’s analytical projects this year, by finding and mapping relevant evidence. The session talked about the planned evidence education and development sessions that we will be running later in the year. 

Speakers: Alison Turner and Richard Ward (The Strategy Unit) 

The evaluation network

This session described why evaluation is important in achieving the best outcomes for patients, service users, health and care systems and their workforce. It also covered how the DSC could support evaluation across the DSU Network and the resources that are available , including an Evaluation Guide, freely available. 

Speaker: Paul Mason and David Callaghan (The Strategy Unit) 

Developing the Network of Analysts in the Midlands

An interactive session which explored ways in which analysts across the Midlands could work together on shared interests and provide mutual support. 

Speakers: Steven WyattJake ParsonsPaul Seamer and Gareth Wrench (The Strategy Unit) 

Panel Discussion: The Decision Support Unit – what’s next?

During this session our panel of experts discussed: the benefits of this way of working; how might DSUs evolve and the implications for health and care systems nationally. 

Speakers: Ruth Lemiech (Director of Strategy & Transformation, NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG), Andi Orlowski (Director, The Health Economics Unit), Jake Abbas (Head of Local Knowledge and Intelligence Services, Public Health England), Peter Spilsbury (Director, The Strategy Unit) and Suki Panesar (Deputy Director, Data, Analysis and Intelligence Service, NHS England) 

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