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

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Logo and Vision

August 2019


Simon Whitehouse

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

The big news this month is that our 12-week listening exercise has now ended and work is underway to analyse the findings. It’s been fantastic to hear the views, ideas and experiences of thousands of people – including service users, health and care staff, volunteers, stakeholders and the wider public. Thanks to all who have supported this large piece of work, including our clinicians, programme managers, local representatives and involvement colleagues. I look forward to receiving the report in the Autumn to better understand what is working well and what we could do better.

Your feedback is also helping to shape our Five-Year Plan for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We’re on track to meet the deadline to submit a draft by the end of September, with the final plan due in November. We have listened to our partners, who want us to learn from the 2016 plan with a strong focus on delivery – setting out clear priorities for the initial first two years, as well as focusing on the longer-term transformation programme.

Collaboration will be essential if we are to deliver our ambitious vision and tackle the financial and operational challenges we face locally. Colleagues from all partners are involved in developing the plan, and over the coming months we will be involving Governing Bodies as well as Trust Boards to ensure a true partnership approach and commitment.

The establishment of the Transformation Delivery Unit (TDU) will be key to driving forward the realisation of these priorities. Now, is the right time for us to plan for the future and already the partnership is beginning to evolve to meet the national ambition of becoming an Integrated Care System by 2021. The Together We're Better Board will continue to be the vehicle to drive forward this strategic partnership, with conversations already underway amongst system leaders to redesign our approach locally.

This month will be a key milestone in our evolution, as the CCGs continue to engage with their membership on their proposal to form a single Strategic Commissioning Organisation. GPs will be voting in September on the proposals, which will help guide the direction of travel locally.

Whilst we focus on the long-term aspirations, in the meantime we still have the day job to deliver, with our urgent and emergency care performance remaining a signficant challenge, as well as the in-year financial position for us as a system.

Moving forward, we have some key priorities for the next few months. Over the past few weeks, we have heard a consistent theme from the public – that we need to integrate our IT systems and develop a shared care record. It’s great to see real traction building through the Digital programme, led by Dr Paddy Hannigan. Working with the new IT supplier, we are now very much in the mobilisation phase. This means we will be starting our communications campaign this Autumn, to inform staff, partners and the public about these changes. This is an exciting opportunity to directly improve care for local people and support the integration agenda.

With the school holidays nearly over, partners are well underway in their preparations for Winter. Our single plan and coordinated approach last Winter has been recognised as a successful model, that delivered real improvements in performance. We are building on this for 2019/20 and are currently writing our assurance plan for NHS England. Whilst we need a plan that meets the assurance processes of NHSE/I, the most important part of our plan is to ensure that is makes sense clinically, is understood by all partners and provides a clear focus on doing the right thing for our citizens and patients. We will face some real challenges over the coming months, but our focus needs to remain on providing safe and effective care, even when the system is under significant pressure.

Finally… I wanted to encourage everyone to promote the NHS High Potential Scheme. It is a fantastic achievement that this area is the only site chosen as a pilot for the two year development programme, in partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy. Applications close on 8 September and more information is available below.

Simon Whitehouse, STP Director

Health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

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We know we need to think differently, be innovative, and work together to change health and care services so that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can become the healthiest places to live and work.

Between 3 June and 25 August 2019, we held a listening exercise to gather views on:

  • What works well?
  • What you think should be improved?
  • What is important to you?

Our listening exercise has now ended. We would like to thank you for providing your views through attending our events or completing our survey. Your feedback is very important in helping us to shape the future of local services.

During the listening exercise, we have spoken to over 1,800 members of the public and 1,215 members of staff. We have received 358 responses to our main survey and 653 event surveys.

In addition, we held 13 listening events across the county and a series of roadshows in busy public areas and health and care buildings. We would also like to thank the voluntary sector, who have welcomed us at a range of community and patient group meetings.

We are now analysing all of the feedback we have received and will be producing a report of findings in Autumn 2019. This will be reviewed by the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ Governing Bodies and will be made publicly available.

Focus on our clinically-led programmes


Enhanced Primary and Community Care programme

From Steve Grange, Programme Director

Our work on enhancing patient care for End of Life services across Staffordshire is now progressing well. Clinicians and senior commissioners met at Yarnfield four weeks ago to discuss how we can build an End of Life Strategy and work towards a unified pan-Staffordshire offer which includes children and young people.

We have been working on clear pathways for long-term conditions and looking at a locality approach to ensure those patients are treated effectively in their local primary care facilities.

Our offer to care homes is also being enhanced, with a community rapid intervention service coming into play this September. Paramedics and other clinicians in the field will have access to a team of specialists that can triage the patient within two hours and take the risk away from a nursing home to avoid unnecessary acute admissions. This work is being led by UHNM, working with the TDU.

Read More >


Maternity, Children and Young People programme

From Tilly Flanagan, Children and Young People Programme Lead

In May, we attended the Clinical Leaders Group and shared the priorities to the wider group. This was a very positive meeting and prompted much discussion about the need for other programme leads to recognise the needs of children and young people. We have already engaged with young people in Staffordshire to get their input into the programme, and plan to do the same in Stoke-on-Trent.

We have spent some time refreshing the plan, incorporating local priorities and the aspirations of the NHS Long Term Plan. This is still in draft form and requires further engagement with wider stakeholders and the Together We’re Better work programmes.

Recent good news stories include:

  • The parenting and early intervention arm has attracted £800,000 from the Department of Education for a 12-month programme of work to be jointly delivered between Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The programme will be fully evaluated and will gain the views of senior leaders.
  • Both local authorities were part of the first wave of free training for health visitors to improve speech, language and communication in the under 5s. A total of 14 health visitors attended, who will cascade the training to their colleagues.
  • We have recently been awarded a £15,000 grant from Health Education England, which we will use to deliver a ‘Parenting Support’ workforce development training programme. Focussed on early years, it will target frontline professionals from health and care settings and children’s services. The objectives are to:
    • Support mums and dads to provide sensitive and attuned parenting
    • Place an emphasis on strong parent-child attachment and positive parenting, resulting in better social and emotional wellbeing amongst children
    • Support parents in the wider issues that affect families – such as finances, housing and employment.

Read More >

Focus on our enabling programmes


Organisational Development and System Leadership programme

From Linda Holland, Programme Director

The High Potential Scheme is an innovative and exciting new NHS Leadership Academy Programme that offers bespoke career development to help high potential, aspiring mid-level leaders accelerate their career to senior health and care roles at a faster pace. The first of its kind for the NHS and not offered nationally until late 2020, the scheme has been developed by the NHS Leadership Academy. Together We’re Better is the first of seven pilot sites to welcome applications.

The scheme is open to all NHS-funded middle level leaders (Agenda for Change bands 8a-d, or equivalent in other pay structures, clinical or non-clinical), based within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It offers two development streams, each relating to key career transitions identified for mid-level leaders progressing to senior roles. Applicants will need to select the stream they wish to apply for based on their current level of leadership experience. The emphasis of the 24-month scheme is on gaining practical leadership experience in a range of roles and settings, alongside strategic experience through assignments and projects.

With the help of a career’s coach, participants will design a bespoke development plan to help them gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to become outstanding, compassionate and inclusive senior leaders across health and care.

Applications close on Sunday 8 September 2019. More information is available at

Read More >


Estates programme

From Wendy Woodward, Programme Manager

Over the last few months, the team has been focused on the Together We’re Better Estates Strategy Checkpoint process. This checks progress against delivery of the 2018 Estates Workbook. For the 2018 submission, we achieved an ‘Improving’ banding, based on a scale of ‘Fair’, ‘Improving’, ‘Good’ and ‘Strong’. We are aiming to achieve at least the level of ‘Good’ for 2019.

Colleagues from both the partnership and from regional and national NHS/local/regional government teams will be attending a roundtable discussion in September. Feedback and banding is expected in the Autumn.

Projects continue to develop within our wider strategic programme:

  • The Outline Business Case (OBC) for Greenwood House continues to progress
  • We are close to commencing work on the OBC for Chadsmoor
  • Outwoods is developing well – work is commencing on the 1:200 plans and is on target to hit the expected timeframe for delivery in 2021
  • The Detox Centre is on target for delivery within timescales
  • The development of the hub at Codsall is progressing well, with the construction phase planned for February 2020.

Read More >


Digital programme

From Stuart Lea, Programme Director

During the next few months, we will be working to roll out the Integrated Care Record (ICR) to make a real difference to the lives of people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

With appropriate permissions and consent, the ICR means that relevant medical history will be available electronically to health and care professionals – whether individuals are being treated by their GP, in a community-based service, or in hospital. Information will also be available with local authorities for care services, and eventually with hospices and other providers. These practitioners will be able to access the most current details about patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Local people have told us that they want their health and care records to be available to practitioners who care for them. By connecting these pockets of information health and care services can work more efficiently and consistently to improve quality and outcomes for the people they care for.

Health professionals will have access to an incrementally comprehensive record for their patients’ medical and care needs, making care safer and reducing duplication. It will reduce the need to ask patients for information repeatedly and ensure that their preferences, such as information about resuscitation and end of life wishes, are shared and understood by all practitioners caring for them.

The ICR will support new models of care which forms part of the delivery of integrated health and social care services that are central to the national NHS strategy. We are also working in partnership with neighbouring health and care organisations and NHS England to ensure appropriate records are available for patients who are cared for outside of our county.

The next step is to communicate and engage with key stakeholders across the local health and care economy. Work continues behind the scenes with our partners to prepare for the launch.

Read More >


Government cash injection for Stoke Hospital

The University Hospitals of North Midlands is one of 20 NHS trusts receiving capital funding to improve infrastructure and equipment. The Royal Stoke University Hospital is set to receive £17.6 million, which it will use to create three new wards – providing 84 new beds this winter.

Read More >

UHDB receives national recognition for promoting culture of openess

UHDB's commitment to encouraging staff to come forward and express any concerns they have has resulted in the Trust being shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Read More >

£5.5m funding proposals for 'investment in children'

A public consultation has been launched on proposals to fund a £5.5m redirection of cash to children's services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. If approved, the proposals will allow the city council to prioritise significant investment in children in the city now and in future years.

Read More >

System partners shortlisted for national awards

Seven local services, run by MPFT, have been shortlisted in this year's HSJ Awards. MPFT has received more nominations than any other single organisations. Congratulations to everyone involved.

UHDB has been nominated in the category 'Freedom to Speak Up Organisation of the year', embedding the freedom to speak up across a merged organisation.

Congratulations also go to NSCHT, which has also been nominated in the 'Mental Health Provider of the Year' category.

Good luck to all partners nominated.

Elsewhere, UHNM will receive an Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award in London this November, for outstanding support of the Armed Forces Community.

Read More >