Taking Cornerstone’s vision to the continent

Caring type scenario cropped

Mairi Martin on Cornerstone's successful visit to the European Health Forum

4th September 2017 by TFN 0 Comments

Cornerstone was extremely privileged to be invited to speak at the prestigious annual European Health Forum, which was this year held in the beautiful Austrian mountains in Alpbach, Tyrol.

Chief executive Edel Harris and I joined hundreds of other delegates from across the world, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, England, Canada, USA, Italy and of course Austria, at the forum, the theme of which was collaborative leadership.

The forum, which looks at comparisons in health and care systems globally, states “that no other sector of society is as highly contested by varying interests and needs as healthcare. At the heart of this contestation lies the question of how to ensure healthy people remain healthy, how to help ill people become healthy again, and how to obtain the best possible care for all”.

Mairi Martin

Mairi Martin

Cornerstone was invited to attend in light of its recent launch of the pioneering Local Cornerstone initiative, and the journey on which the organisation has embarked in trying to do something different to address a range of issues currently affecting the health and care industry, not just in this country but across the globe.

Over the course of the three days in Alpbach, we attended various seminars and workshops on different topics from storytelling, communication, new culture of leadership and co-operation to integrating health care structures in interdisciplinary teams as well as learning about the art of hosting. Each one provided ideas on how we can further improve things at Cornerstone.

The main event for Cornerstone, however, was a session where we had to pitch to the audience about Local Cornerstone, and demonstrate how care could be delivered in a different way. Before we knew it, we were ready to present to the entire forum, and Edel took to the stage where she talked about the journey Cornerstone is on and how its  aim is the following:

•             to put the people we support at the heart of everything we do to assist them to live the life they choose,

•             to do more than we are contractually obliged to do,

•             to demonstrate that we genuinely value social care as a profession,

•             and to use our charitable income to do some amazing things that help all the people we support to live a valued life.

Her presentation highlighted the difficulties in care, how organisations have the power to do something different and why they should come to our session to learn about Local Cornerstone.

You can imagine our delight when more chairs had to be added to Cornerstone’s breakout session, which was attended by a group of professionals who were hanging onto our every word, soaking up the Cornerstone journey of progress so far and the next steps in the three-year strategic plan.

We were inundated for the remaining time, as delegates kept asking for more information on Local Cornerstone - we found it hugely reassuring and satisfying that so much interest was shown.

The inspiration behind Local Cornerstone is the Buurtzorg model, which we first came across during a study visit to Holland in May 2016, and so, during the conference, we took the opportunity to catch up with its founder, Jos De Blok, as well as Andy Lippok who kindly suggested Cornerstone attend the event.

We both found the forum extremely interesting and thought-provoking; there were so many different ideas and views on how best to deliver health and care in the various countries, organisations and departments. There is no doubt that health and care is facing many serious difficulties in its current models across the world.

We left Austria feeling proud to have attended the event, and to have represented Cornerstone and all its fantastic colleagues and people we support. There was so much interest in Local Cornerstone that we ran out of business cards over the course of the three days. Edel also managed to hand out a few of our relatively new #youareawesome cards.

During our stay, we had some time to enjoy the magnificent scenery, and so we both stepped up to the plate and joined the mountain walk with other delegates. It was fair to say that we both found it harder than they did!

Overall, it was a fantastically successful few days in a beautiful place with stunning scenery, and it was an honour for Edel and myself to have spent it with other pioneers from around the world who are all trying to make health and care a better place to work, focusing on collaborative leadership all with the aim to ensure the highest quality of care is achieved. Local Cornerstone was certainly recognised as a model that was leading the way with care.

Mairi Martin is leader (strategy implementation) at Cornerstone.