Together We're Better Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP Newsletter (October 2018)

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"Working with you to make Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the healthiest places to live and work."

October 2018


Simon Whitehouse

Welcome to this latest newsletter from the Together We’re Better health and care partnership.

The approval by the six Clinical Commissioning Groups of the timeline for our next phases of engagement marks an important point in our journey and is reflected in the momentum that is continuing to build within the partnership.

There’s a lot of work happening between now and Spring 2019, when we expect to launch our next phase of engagement with local communities, groups and health and care staff.

Our partners are already getting on with developing new and exciting ways of working together. A great example of how system working makes a difference to patients is Integrated Care Teams - with frontline primary, community and mental health staff working alongside social care professionals and the voluntary and independent sector to coordinate their approach and improve the health of the community they serve.

The next few months promise to be as exciting as they are busy and I look forward to sharing many more examples of a local health and care system that is working together to improve the lives of local people.

As winter fast approaches, I'm delighted that all our partners have contributed to developing a very robust winter plan for the local health and care system. Extra capacity has been built in, with 170,000 extra GP appointments planned and additional escalation beds being prepared. We also reported last month on the £8.8m of extra Government money for University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) to fund two new modular wards at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

Winter is always an extremely challenging time, but our Health and Care Transformation Board has welcomed the reassurance that the winter plan has been tested to enable us to deliver the best care we can. 

Before I go, I would like to congratulate our Chair Sir Neil McKay, who has also been appointed as Chair for our neighbouring STP - Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. I think this will be a very positive step for both STPs and I look forward to seeing what more we can learn and share with each other.

Simon Whitehouse, Director

Focus on our work programmes

Enhanced Primary and Community Care (EPCC) programme

New online consultations launched and access extended to primary care


A priority for the programme is to provide sustainable primary care services and good progress has been made in this area, including the launch of a new online consultation system being piloted by 24 GP practices across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to improve access for patients and make the best use of clinicians’ time.

Meanwhile, improved access is being offered to primary care services under a new NHS initiative, which is seeing GPs working together to offer extended opening hours for same day and pre-bookable appointments for weekday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Read More >

Workforce programme

Think Tank event focusses on recruitment and retention of health and care staff

Think Tank

Every health and care system in the country is facing challenges in terms of recruitment and retention of staff and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is no different. Seeking to address this, the Workforce programme held a successful Think Tank session to discuss how to attract a new generation of health and care staff to live and work in the area. Representatives from 30 organisations came together at the event to discuss how best to tackle the recruitment and retention challenges facing the local area. Feedback will be used to develop innovative recruitment and retention schemes for local health and care.

Congratulations also to Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, whose nursing staff are being featured in the latest phase of NHS England's 'We are the NHS' national recruitment campaign; more information is available by clicking the link below.

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Organisational Development and System Leadership programme

Stepping Up Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) leadership programme a great success


A leadership programme that is empowering black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) health and care staff to embrace leadership roles in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is already proving a huge success. More than 20 existing and aspiring BAME leaders from across the local health and care system are looking to the future with a renewed zeal after becoming the first group to complete the Staffordshire Stepping Up programme. Feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with comments including:

  • “Empowering programme which has made me realise my potential and capabilities; I have learned so much on this programme and I have already recommended it to my other BME peers. The facilitators were so inspiring.”
  • “The programme was a massive eye-opener and really focussed on the issues that BAME individuals face within the NHS.”

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Suicide Prevention Conference

Mental Health programme

Places full for Together We're Better Suicide Prevention Conference 

Thank you to everyone who has booked a place for the first Together We’re Better Suicide Prevention – Making a Difference Together Conference; places are now full. The event is being held on Friday 30 November at the bet365 Stadium in Stanley Matthews Way, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 4EG from 9am-4.30pm and will feature a range of key speakers, survivor's stories, bereavement support, workshops and information stands.


Together We're Better Chair Sir Neil McKay appointed as Chair of neighbouring STP

Sir Neil McKay

NHS England has announced that Sir Neil McKay has been appointed as the Chair of the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). Sir Neil will also continue in his role as the Chair of Together We’re Better and said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to support two neighbouring STPs, both with ambitious priorities and at the same time local challenges and approaches. I am looking forward to identifying new ways that we can support integrated working, drive forward efficiency and importantly deliver quality care for local people. I am absolutely committed to supporting our local STP, and it is exciting to see our clinically led work programmes gaining momentum. We are busy planning for public engagement to provisionally start next Spring and I am looking forward to listening to the views of local communities.”

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Health and care leaders agree timeline for Together We're Better public engagement

PCBC Timeline

The six Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have agreed a timeline for the next phases of engagement by Together We’re Better. The CCGs’ Governing Bodies approved the recommendation from TWB’s Health and Care Transformation Board for full public engagement to provisionally start in May 2019. This will be the beginning of a thorough process to develop proposals jointly with local communities, health and care staff and local groups that will form the basis of any formal consultation.

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Don't get flu, get immunised" GPs urge


GPs from around Staffordshire are urging patients in vulnerable groups to get flu-fit as winter approaches. Flu is unpleasant whoever you are; but for people in certain groups it is especially important to get immunised against flu as the impact can be more serious and lead to complications. Most adults will get a simple jab; children get a nasal spray. Staffordshire GP Dr Mo Huda said: “Immunisation against flu is effective and any side-effects are negligible compared to the impact of flu. It is a must for anyone in the vulnerable groups and the best way to stay protected.” The link below includes a series of short videos about flu immuinisation aimed at specific groups.

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Councils and Clinical Commissioning Groups join together to tackle mental health in young people

Mental Health

Children and young people with mental health issues in Staffordshire will get the right help at the right time, thanks to a proposed new joint approach by Staffordshire councils and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-On-Trent City Council and local CCGs launched their proposed joint Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing strategy on World Mental Health Day (October 10). The county and city councils, plus local CCGs, have joined forces in a commitment to improve children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. The strategy focuses on tackling stigma and improving attitudes to mental illness, ensuring there are mechanisms of support in local communities to help children and young people.

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Spotlight shines on care home quality and safety assurances

A new ‘Spotlight’ has been shone on the way the NHS monitors quality and safety for patients in NHS-funded care home beds in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. A two-page Spotlight document published on the Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) websites reveals the steps that are taken to ensure patients in NHS-commissioned beds in care homes receive a similar quality of care as patients would expect in an NHS-run hospital. When developing the proposals for the future of local health services, concerns have been raised by members of the public about the quality of care provided in NHS-commissioned beds in care homes to meet the health and care needs of local people after a stay in hospital while they undergo rehabilitation and assessment for their future care needs.

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