PICS has been an integral part in the improvement of health and wellbeing of our communities. The continuous improvement of our services ensures that they remain safe and effective. This supports our mission to provide excellent patient care, while also reducing hospital admissions and the pressure on GPs. Our collaborative approach enables us to offer co-ordinated and integrated care, which is sustainable and improves outcomes for our patients.

At the heart of our patient-focused and improvement culture at PICS is the influence of Heidi Lewis, Primary Care Projects Manager, who has been with PICS from the start. Heidi helped introduce the Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Service back in 2006, which was the very first service offered by PICS. It has since expanded into the Respiratory Service.

Heidi also played an active role in the setting up of many more services including the Pain Pathway and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME Service. This developed into an innovative community pathway, with a team of specialist clinicians supporting chronic pain management. Not only has it led to less hospital referrals, but also a reduction in waiting times and wider use of self-management strategies. The service initially operated within the Nottingham West area, but has since expanded to cover most of the County.

Heidi (centre) at the British lunch foundation run in 2008.

Now, as the world monitors the effects of the COVID-19 disease, our established expertise in Respiratory, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ME Services is being drawn on to develop new pathways and services for those suffering from Long Covid – where patients continue to feel exhausted and have longer term difficulties with their breathing. We’re continuing to adapt to what our communities need.

Heidi’s early involvement has significantly shaped PICS and ensured that adapting our services to reflect patient-need is always at the forefront of our work. “It is important that PICSies (our staff) understand why PICS started, and we all share pride in how far we have come and what we have achieved; and then this drive for improvement is reflected in our new projects as we design and deliver them.”

An important part of Heidi’s role is to ensure that PICS values are embedded at every level of the organisation, by promoting our ‘we care’ values into our culture and ways of working.

When looking back on her journey at PICS, Heidi is most proud of being the first PICSie, alongside her

Heidi chairing a team meeting.

contribution towards the improvement of patient health within the local community. “I have been involved in almost every service and worked with almost every member of the PICS staff at some point, whether it is in the very initial planning & strategic stages, writing job specifications, recruiting staff, managing staff, supporting the day-to-day running or further on in the development of that particular service journey. So I am proud of each service as well as our PCN development work.”

Heidi has a knack for continuous improvement and describes the morning as the most important part of her day as she can be productive while the ideas are still fresh and it is quiet. She has continued her personal development journey by taking on an Agile Project Management course, which will enable her to be more proficient when managing future projects. In future she hopes she will be able to pass on the knowledge she has gained from the Agile Management course and guide others on how to effectively manage projects.