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Community frailty team workforce development – a personal reflection

Eleanor Corbett (Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK)
Lucy Lewis (Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 2 September 2021

Issue publication date: 9 December 2021




This paper represents a personal view of a newly appointed consultant practitioner trainee in frailty. This role was created as a result of a rapid workforce review of a Frailty Support Team (FST) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The FST traditionally worked alongside other community services. A “One Team” approach was developed whereby prior silos of community nursing, therapy and frailty teams became a single, locality based and mutually supportive integrated community service. This significantly increased capacity for an urgent community response for older people with complex needs and improved clinical management and coordination of care. As a workforce review identified the need for skills development, new roles for trainee advanced frailty practitioners (AFPs) and a consultant practitioner trainee in frailty were established.


Staff experience of the “One Team” model was positive. The changes were thought to encourage closer and more efficient working between primary care and a range of community health services. The improved communication between professionals enabled more personalised care at home, reducing pressure on emergency hospital services. A rapid review of the workforce model has enabled the enhanced team capacity to cover a wider geographical area and improved recruitment and retention of staff by introducing a new pathway for career progression within the expanding specialism of frailty.


The challenge of COVID-19 has prompted rapid service redesign to create an enhanced “One Team in the community.” The innovative workforce model looks beyond traditional roles, values the experience and capabilities of staff and develops the skills and confidence required to provide a more integrated and person-centred specialist community pathway for people living with frailty.



Corbett, E. and Lewis, L. (2021), "Community frailty team workforce development – a personal reflection", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 464-468.



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