Evaluation of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team: nurturing connectivity between the third sector and health sector

Ward, Meghánn Catherine ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6061-4133 , Grimwood, Tom ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8099-6191 and Snell, Laura ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4455-8076 (2023) Evaluation of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team: nurturing connectivity between the third sector and health sector. (Unpublished) Item availability may be restricted.

[thumbnail of (2023, Jan) Evaluation of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team_Report.pdf] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License CC BY-NC

Download (692kB) | Contact the author


Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE), at the University of Cumbria, was commissioned by Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services (Cumbria CVS) to conduct further evaluation of the wider role of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team and their work across Cumbria. This project builds on a previous evaluation (HASKE, February 2022), which explored the work of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team, including the Health and Welfare Telephone Support Service, and the benefits of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator role and service for patients.

In order to further develop the first evaluation, the aims of this project were to evaluate:
1. The role of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator Team as ambassadors for the third sector, and conduits for information sharing between the third sector and healthcare staff.
2. How the Team’s role enhances connectivity between the third and public sectors, and how these relationships are established and maintained.

The evaluation comprised four key stages of data collection:
• Interviews with six members of the Third Sector Referral Coordinator team
• An online survey of third sector organisations
• Interviews with six senior clinicians and clinical leads
• Interviews with two representatives of third sector organisations.

Conclusions and recommendations:
• There is a clear need and justification for the work of the TSRC team within wider integrated care systems, which is borne out across the data sources. A beneficial element of the TSRC team’s work is in how it provides for the social, emotional, and additional needs of service users or patients that cannot be met by clinicians.
• There is well-established evidence that the service has eased pressure on clinical capacity and enabled quicker referrals from clinical to community settings, demonstrating how services like the TSRC team are necessary for better meeting the holistic needs of patients. However, it is important to note that the TSRC team is more than a logistical benefit to clinical practice. The TSRC take pressure off clinical staff and provide additional work for the third sector, thereby creating a newfound sense of balance and equilibrium between the sectors.
• Prior to the TSRC service, some third sector organisations reported a distinct lack of connection with the health sector, which the service has now bridged.
• There is a sense in which the TSRC team are “conduits” to support and balance the work of both the health and third sector in an efficient and collaborative manner, rather than residing in one or the other.
• The TSRC team provides a “bigger picture” outlook not only for healthcare professionals but also the for the third sector.
• As conduits of information sharing between the health and third sectors, the TSRC team members are often reliant upon individual representatives of organisations, rather than forming connections with larger teams. It is recommended that work is done to cement these relationships in systematic ways.
• Evidence demonstrates that the current small TSRC team provide a high-quality service within their own working capacity. More staff members will be required to maintain a beneficial singular point of access that can manage a growing workload, with the same level of engagement and visibility as they are currently doing.
• The work of the TSRC team is enabled and dependent upon having an honorary NHS contract, but the time it takes to receive a contract leads to a backlog of referrals and affects the prompt delivery of the TSRC service. The potential for longer contracts and continuity of staff would assist in avoiding backlogs and maintaining the relationships crucial to the service.
• The evaluation found that a large proportion of third sector organisations had not heard of the TSRC team or had not worked with them before, but they showed interest in the service and suggested heightening their outreach and forming new connections within the third sector, including larger and smaller organisations.

Item Type: Report
Departments: Centre for Research in Health and Society (CRIHS)
Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Depositing User: Laura Snell
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2023 12:45
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 14:31
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6919
Edit Item