Alan is executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria’s integrated care system.
What better time to publish our first bulletin of 2020 than during integrated care in action week which is showcasing best practice and learning from health and care systems across England.
We’ve a long history of working together in our region and while there is always more to do – it’s important to recognise what we’ve already achieved.
Strengthening system working was a key theme in the recent NHS planning guidance which sets some clear goals for the year ahead.
For integrated care systems (ICSs) this includes a focus on system transformation and performance. Keeping people well, preventing ill-health and reducing health inequalities also featured in the guidance along with the need to address key workforce challenges. All of these are key ambitions for our ICS and we are starting to make real progress across our workstreams – with some of these highlighted in this bulletin.
There’s lots underway to look at how we can work at scale to tackle some of our workforce challenges. We are awaiting publication of the final People Plan and work has started to align our programme with what we are expecting to see in this national plan.
While we focus on what we can do at scale, our Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) are starting to gain momentum and developing their own plans, reflecting the needs of their local populations and working closely with primary care networks.
Over the past few months we have also been working together to deliver some key campaigns. Whether that’s the ‘big brew’ which encouraged our teams to look out for one another or informing the public about using health and care services sensibly during the winter surge period. These are just some great examples of how by pooling our resources we can make a bigger impact than we sometimes can as individual organisations. Over the coming months, teams are busy working on the ‘find your place’ nursing recruitment campaign linking with the international year of the nurse and midwife, so please do look out, and support this work.
I cannot end the first bulletin of 2020 without commenting on the end of 2019. I would like to pay tribute to all our health and care teams across the region who worked tirelessly to care for patients despite unprecedented winter pressures. This has without a doubt been a challenge for all of us but we have some great examples of how joint working across health and care can make a real difference to patients. There are no signs of this relenting; not least demonstrated by the work underway across the region regarding coronavirus.
We are looking forward to our next partnership briefing event on 30 March, where colleagues from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and their partners in the police and the voluntary sector will be joining us to showcase effective system working to improve outcomes for mental health service users. We will explore on the day how NHS organisations can contribute more to local economic growth – as employers, commissioners and procurers – and to tackling health inequalities in our communities. In the meantime we continue to develop our ICS governance and operating model, working with our clinical leaders and our partners.
We look forward to continued engagement with our stakeholders on how we can further strengthen our system working arrangements, and lay the groundwork for the creation of a Partnership Board with representatives from all of our ICPs that will help to shape the shared strategic priorities of our ICS.
There’s lots more news in this bulletin on what’s been happening to improve and join up care for our communities. Please share it with your colleagues and keep in touch.