Together We're Better Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Health and Care Partnership Newsletter (April 2019)

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Logo and Vision

April 2019



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

We are fast approaching a major milestone in our transformation journey – the launch next month of our 12-week conversation with patients, carers, health and care staff, stakeholders and the wider public.

We’ve spent the past few months getting ready, talking with various groups about the partnership itself alongside the work we’ve collectively been doing over the past 12 months or so. The feedback we’ve received has been invaluable in helping us to prepare – none more so than from our Local Representatives. More information on this group can be found below.

It’s important to stress there are no options on the table at this time – this is all about listening to people to understand what is important to them, what they think works well and what should be improved. 

I hope that everyone reading this newsletter will not only take the time to get involved and help us shape health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, but will also encourage friends, colleagues and family members to do the same. The more views we receive, the greater our understanding will be of what needs to change.

Further details on how you can make your voice heard can be found below, as well as on our website

Alongside the 12-week conversation we are about to embark on, the partnership is also working hard on developing a Five Year Plan in response to the priorities and challenges set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

You’ll recall how pleased we were to learn how closely aligned these priorities were to the areas of focus we had identified locally; for example, mental health, children and young peoples’ services and, in particular, moving towards Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent becoming a fully integrated health and care system.

A critical part of developing a fully robust Five Year Plan will be listening to the thoughts and ideas of our stakeholders. There is a tremendous amount of expertise in and around the system and we want to fully utilise this to ensure the plan we produce is as ambitious and innovative as possible – while at the same time being fiscally responsible. We'll be in a position soon to talk more about how we'd like you to get involved.

Thank you for your continued support and I very much look forward to listening to your views over the course of the next few months as we work together to transform health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Sir Neil McKay, Independent Chair

Health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent


We will be launching a 12-week public conversation across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in late May that focusses on the following areas:

  1. Simplifying urgent and emergency care
  2. Developing a new vision for health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  3. Reviewing Community Hospitals in South Staffordshire
  4. Identifying additional priorities that will deliver clinical and financial stability.

As part of this, the following face-to-face public involvement events are to be held across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent:




Book your place

Monday 3 June

7pm-9.30pm (registration from 6.30pm)

Tirol Suite, SnowDome, River Drive, Tamworth, B79 7ND

Click here

Thursday 6 June

7pm-9.30pm (registration from 6.30pm)

Entrust, Riverway Centre, Riverway, Stafford, ST16 3TH

Click here

Wednesday 12 June

1pm-3.30pm (registration from 12.30pm)

Leek Cricket Club, Macclesfield Road, Leek, ST13 8SG

Click here

Thursday 13 June

10am-12.30pm (registration from 9.30am)

Kingfisher Room, Blurton Community Hub, Ingestre Square, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 3JT

Click here

Tuesday 18 June

7pm-9.30pm (registration from 6.30pm)

Aquarius Ballroom, Victoria Shopping Park, Victoria Street, Cannock, WS12 1BT

Click here

Wednesday 26 June

1pm-3.30pm (registration from 12.30pm)

C J Bayley Suite, Port Vale Football Club, Hamil Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 1AW

Click here

Tuesday 2 July

1pm-3.30pm (registration from 12.30pm)

Garrick Room, George Hotel, Bird Street, Lichfield, WS13 6PR

Click here

Thursday 4 July

7pm-9.30pm (registration from 6.30pm)

Windsor Room, Stoke Town Hall, Glebe Street, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 1HP

Click here

Thursday 11 July

10am-12.30pm (registration from 9.30am)

Tom Bradbury Suite, Pirelli Stadium, Princess Way, Burton-on-Trent, DE14 0AR

Click here

Monday 15 July

7pm-9.30pm (registration from 6.30pm)

North Staffordshire Medical Institute, Hartshill Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST4 7NY

Click here

Wednesday 17 July

2pm-4.30pm (registration from 1.30pm)

Bourne Room, Wombourne Civic Centre, Gravel Hill, Wombourne, WV5 9HA

Click here


Public roadshows will also be held across the county in areas of high footfall, such as shopping centres, supermarkets, leisure centres and libraries. More details on where these roadshows will be held will be available shortly.

Alongside this, staff roadshows will take place in key health and care locations and focus groups held with community and voluntary sector groups and organisations. We will be actively meeting with a range of voluntary/community sector organisations, patient networks and protected characteristics groups, while people will be able to share their views by completing a survey (both online and hard copy).

We are working on updating our Case for Change document, first published in March 2016 while a public facing Issues Paper is being developed as part of our pre-consultation that will provide further detail and background information. In addition, we are continuing discussions with NHS England about the assurance process to make sure we are following national guidance and best practice.

In the run up to the launch of the 12-week conversation, our NHS and local government partners have been involving staff using a toolkit that has been produced and supporting our workforce to give early feedback.

We also held a workshop event in Stoke-on-Trent in March involving about 20 representatives from Healthwatch, the local voluntary and community sector, patient groups and local government, who provided valuable feedback on our plans for public involvement.

You can find out more information about our involvement plans on our website

Local Reps

Local Representatives feed back on plans for public and staff involvement at latest workshop

As part of our preparations for the 12-week public conversation launching in late May, we held the latest feedback session this month with our Local Representatives group.

Since relaunching in Autumn 2018, Local Representatives have been providing a strong independent voice and at the latest face-to-face meeting a session was held seeking views on the upcoming listening events and roadshows, as well as on our draft public facing Issues Paper.

Our Mental Health programme also sought the views and experiences of members to support their plans for the public, staff and stakeholder involvement.

Local Representatives come from all walks of life, including existing Patient Participation Groups, Healthwatch members, local community advocates and school governors. They are passionate about delivering real change and improving health and care services for local people and are a vital conduit between the local groups/organisations and communities they have links to and Together We’re Better.

For more information about Local Representatives, including how to get involved, please visit


Healthwatch seeking views on NHS Long Term Plan

Healthwatch Staffordshire and Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent are encouraging people locally to take part in a short survey and share their views on the NHS Long Term Plan. The survey is particularly seeking views on the following areas:

  • Being supported to live a healthy life
  • Managing and choosing the support you need
  • Keeping your independence and staying healthy as you get older
  • How you interact with your local NHS

Click on the link below to take you to the survey.

Read More >

Tracy Bullock

New Chief Executive starts at UHNM

Tracy Bullock has started her post as the new Chief Executive of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM). ​Tracy has served the NHS for the entirety of her 35-year career. She qualified as a nurse whilst at Bolton Hospitals NHS Trust and throughout her 18 years there became Clinical Risk Manager, Governance Manager and then Directorate Business Manager. In 2002 Tracy joined the Modernisation Agency as Associate Director/Account Manager in the performance support team. In 2006 she joined Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as Director of Nursing and Quality, with the Chief Operating Officer remit being added to her role in 2007. She also took on Deputy Chief Executive responsibilities in 2010 and was appointed to the Chief Executive position later that year.

Peter Axon

New Chief Executive appointed at Combined Healthcare

Congratulations also to Peter Axon, who has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust. During his 22 year career, Peter has worked across a number of NHS organisations and the private sector. For the past 10 years, he was Chief Finance Officer and more recently Deputy Chief Executive at a community NHS foundation trust, where he oversaw a number of large scale programmes. These included the completion of a new £50m dental hospital in Birmingham, the development of new operating models across Birmingham and the Black Country and a refresh of the trust's long term strategy. During this period, he also spent a year as a Board director, including CEO of a Black Country mental health and learning disability provider.

Read More >

Focus on our clinically-led programmes

UEC icon

Urgent and Emergency Care programme

From Cheryl Hardisty, Programme Director

The successful management of winter pressures and tangible progress made in improving performance has been commended by NHS England and NHS Improvement. This is demonstrated in the reduction in 12-hour breaches at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) from 508 in 2017/18 to 3 in 2018/19; with zero 12-hour breaches since October 2018. This is particularly impressive, considering the number of people attending A&Es in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is on the increase – with a forecasted 8.4% rise in attendances at A&E departments locally this year compared to 2018/19.

The new national specification for an integrated urgent and emergency care system has been commissioned locally. This specification is nationally mandated for delivery from 1 April 2019, which we are very pleased to have achieved. Commissioners have worked successfully with the current provider to implement the specification, including the NHS111 and GP out of hours services now being co-located in Staffordshire and operating as a single service.

An enhanced Clinical Assessment Service is now in place which means a senior clinician (e.g. a GP) has oversight of patients in the NHS111 queue 24/7. They can also utilise the expertise of other clinicians for specific issues; for example, advanced nurse practitioners and dental nurses. It is early days, but we are hopeful it will lead to a more streamlined service and experience for patients using NHS111.

A ‘test of change’ in February 2019 supported by West Midlands Ambulance Trust, UHNM and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was very positive. The aim of this 12-day test in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent was to support the ambulance service with access to alternative existing pathways. It demonstrated that 75% of referrals were able to be accepted by community services and 64% of all referrals remained at home after seven days. This indicated the potential for approximately 30-50 ambulance patients per day to go in to community services - supporting patients to remain in their own homes as opposed to attending A&E. 

Read More >


Enhanced Primary and Community Care programme

From Steve Grange, Programme Director

One of the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan is the delivery of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) – networks of GP practices. We will be submitting our finalised footprint of PCNs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to NHS England in mid-May and will aim to be in a position in July to reveal more detail about the areas these will cover.

Partners, including voluntary and community sector groups and social care are working together as part of an Integrated Care Team (ICT) delivery group to look at the demand for community services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and the capacity of our workforce. ICTs bring together a range of primary, community and mental health services, alongside social care professionals and the voluntary and independent sector – enabling a coordinated approach to improving the health of the community they serve. They will form part of a Primary Care Network and be the spine of health and care services for their local populations.

Finally, we are due to finalise and submit our Primary Care Strategy to NHS England by October. This is being developed locally in a cohesive way with clinicians within primary care, who will be consulted though the whole process. The document will outline the changes to contracting and workforce needs to enable PCNs to develop and new roles to emerge – providing exciting opportunities for those looking to start their career in health or those who want a change.

Read More >

Focus on our enabling programmes

Digital icon

Digital programme

From Stuart Lea, Programme Director

Funding from the NHS England General Practice Nursing (GPN) 10 Point Plan has enabled the programme’s Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) project to train 36 GPNs across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to become digital champions. As champions, these nurses are using their training and experience to provide at least two modes of technology enabled care in their practice (e.g. video consultation, apps, social media and telehealth) and share this learning with colleagues.

The project is also leading on rolling out a further 12 digital upskilling action learning sets for 120 GPNs in different areas of the country thanks to an additional £300,000 of national money having been awarded. The TECS team is working with the Royal College of General Practitioners on evaluating this exciting initiative, which will run until June prior to being evaluated by September 2019.

The digital primary care transformation programme is progressing well with developing 24 digital champion practices and 32 digital exemplar practices across the patch. Practice teams will utilise the new digital shared care record for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent which, when launched, will link NHS and local government organisations more closely than ever before in order to provide the best possible care.

In terms of the digital shared care record itself, the procurement process of the project is nearing completion following an evaluation and the identification of the successful supplier. The project team continue to engage with stakeholders and have commenced designing a mobilisation plan which will commence once contracts with the supplier are finalised.

Finally, we’re looking forward to the national Digital Primary Care Transformation Conference which the TECS project team are organising in London at Facebook’s HQ on June 19. The event will showcase examples of local good practice as well as national case studies with key speakers from government, professional and healthcare organisations.

Read More >

OD icon

Organisational Development and Leadership programme

From Linda Holland, Programme Director

We’re delighted to announce the first Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Conference and Stepping Up Alumni event is being held on Thursday 13 June in Stoke-on-Trent. The Staffordshire Stepping Up Programme has been hugely successful, with scores of existing and aspiring leaders from the BAME community having taken part and developed their skills.

In other news, we are developing some detailed plans pending the rollout of the High Potential Scheme (HPS) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent following the successful application to the NHS Leadership Academy to become a pilot site. There are seven sites nationally participating in this unique new approach to developing and nurturing our talent, with Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent leading the way as an inaugural pilot. The aim of the HPS will be to identify, support and develop the most talented individuals providing NHS-funded care, in order to help them succeed in the most senior roles within local health and care services.

The creation of the HPS programme will be a pathway of talent linking to a regional talent board. It will demonstrate a clear pipeline for aspirant leaders within our local area to aspire to gain a place and become part of a future cadre of leaders who are able to progress the furthest and fastest.

Read More >

Estates icon

Estates programme

From Becky Jones, Programme Director

We’ve been working hard as a programme on progressing our various major capital projects, including the exciting development of a health and care campus on Outwoods site at Queen’s Hospital in Burton. Partners have been working on next steps concerning the overall layout and model of care that would be delivered and understanding how each other’s services will deliver benefits for the local population – this will be reflected in the site masterplan.

Work is underway finalising floor plan requirements for partners at Codsall Community Hub and construction work is scheduled to commence in early 2020. The project consists of new building space, refurbishment of the existing building and increased parking provision. In addition, Staffordshire County Council has submitted the planning application to Lichfield District Council with respect to the Greenwood House Health Centre development in Burntwood and it is anticipated the outcome of this will be determined in June 2019.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Mental Health programme had been successful in its capital funding bid for £1.6m, part of which will go towards setting up four crisis cafes across the county to make mental health support more accessible. Executive leads for both programmes have now been identified and project groups are being established.

Read More >