Collaborating is not always straightforward. Work pressure and historical ways of working often mean we inadvertently stay within our teams or organisations and struggle to work collaboratively to improve outcomes for patients and citizens.

Those who are naturally good at this often talk about how hard it is and the need to consider personal resilience in unchartered territory. System or collaborative learning can be hard to access and is often outside of the place we work where the relationships we could forge while learning together would bring additional local benefits.

So we focused on how we could support more of our frontline leaders across the breadth of health and care in Surrey, including the voluntary, community and faith sector to work together on key local issues while also developing their own personal collaborative leadership skills. The Surrey 500 programme is our first place-based leadership programme aimed at this.

We have worked hard to identify a model to build our co-design work on and we’ve now launched four cohorts each of 100 colleagues.

“Setting up our own place-based collaborative leadership programme will help us with our ambitions. It is an exciting opportunity for people to come together, be empowered as leaders and think across and beyond traditional organisational boundaries to achieve better outcomes for our citizens.” said Sarah Parker, Surrey Heartlands’ Director of Transformation and the Academy.

Roger Davidson, NHS England Director of System Partnerships, attended one of the launch events. He said: “Today I met busy health and social care leaders in Woking enjoying coming out of their busy roles to talk about collaborating for the people they serve. Every system should have a programme like this, which in Surrey is being done at place and at system scale.”

Surrey 500 has been funded from multiple sources including NHS England, Kent Surrey Sussex Leadership Academy, Health Education England and an in kind contribution from the organisational development and culture team at Novartis who will run some modules.