Alan is executive lead for the development of the north east and north Cumbria’s integrated care system.
Things have moved on at pace since our first bulletin was circulated in April and we’re starting to feel a real shift towards a wider understanding of the benefits that come with integrating how we work.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England and Improvement, said the following at today’s NHS Confederation conference, in support of ICSs and the NHS Long Term Plan, which shows how the NHS and its partners will improve care and help people live healthier day-to-day lives over the next decade.
To meet these ambitions, every NHS organisation will need to intensify partnership working with others, including local councils and community organisations, for the good of those we serve.
These areas are among those showing the real gains of collaboration; helping more people to stay well and avoid needless trips to hospital, while making it easier to get high-quality specialist care.
We must keep a laser focus on making services as convenient as possible. Everyone should feel like they are dealing with one system instead of having to repeat their story to a series of different organisations.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England and Improvement
This reinforces the benefits of taking a joint approach to improving the health and well-being of people in the north east and north Cumbria.
Many colleagues from a range of disciplines and specialisms are now working across organisations in support of this.
So far, we have seen strong collaboration in clinical support services, recruitment of medical trainees, investment in digital technology and new ways of joining up care and treatment – to name but a few.
These successes are testimony to the continued efforts of a huge number of staff. Finding the space to implement improvement and change – doing things differently to how they’ve routinely been done – requires insight, dedication and resilience.
But much remains to be done. We are continuing our discussions with partners to further identify how NHS services might support and integrate with those provided by local authorities, the wider community and voluntary sector, so that every resident can access high quality health and care services, and the best possible support to enhance their well-being.
It’s clear that we can always work more efficiently and effectively, particularly to cut out waste and avoid duplication of effort. But, most significantly, this is about colleagues across health, social care and other partners combining our expertise, information and effort to ensure all residents are supported with opportunities to live healthier lives and the right care to improve health outcomes.
This is supported by Professor Peter Kelly, Centre Director, Public Health England North East: “The on-going development of an integrated care system will create additional opportunities for health organisations, local authorities and the voluntary sector to continue to work together to address health inequalities and improve the health and well-being of people through the reduction of preventable diseases. Prevention should be at the core of all patient care and it is very encouraging that it is one of the main focusses of NHS long term plan.
“By further aligning the excellent work of Public Health England and local authorities with patient care provided jointly by the NHS and other organisations, at scale across north Cumbria and the North East, we can have real impact. Working at scale is one of the main opportunities that the integrated care system enables and will improve peoples’ health and reduce gaps in life expectancy.”
Some of this work will take place at a local level in communities and neighbourhoods and some will take place across the whole region, realising economies of scale where this is possible and appropriate.
In this bulletin we share just some of the things which are being taken forward in our priority areas, each of which is led by a senior responsible officer.
Our region’s four integrated care partnerships (ICPs), based around how patients access hospital services and take into account new primary care networks, retain a focus on coordinating general practice, community services, social care and the voluntary sector. They will continue to take the lead on listening and involving people as we continue our journey to engage staff, partners, patients and others in creating the sort of health and care services we would all want to work in or use.
We will continue to keep you informed and involved in our shared journey. I hope you find this bulletin helpful and please do encourage colleagues to sign up to receive further news and updates.