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

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Logo and Vision

December 2019


Simon Whitehouse

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the Together We’re Better Health and Care Partnership.

As the year draws to a close, it’s no understatement when I say it has been a very busy, productive and challenging year.

I would like to start by acknowledging and thanking all colleagues across our health and care system for the outstanding work that they do every day in delivering effective care to the local population. It is even more important to recognise these efforts during the winter period, where the demand and pressure on our services increases hugely. Health and care staff work tirelessly around the clock to look after people and keep them safe during winter.

2019 has been a progressive year for the partnership. The graphic within this newsletter demonstrates many of our key achievements. Also see my latest video blog for more information about our end of year achievements and our priorities for 2020 here.

One of the most notable achievements has been the preparation of our Five Year Plan; our local response to the national NHS Long Term Plan. We are working extremely hard as a system to produce the Five Year Plan, which we are hoping to publish in early 2020. The plan sets out what the next four to five years will look like for the health and care system in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Another key achievement I’d like to highlight is the work that’s been done on leadership and workforce development. We have focussed significantly on supporting Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and their professional development, ensuring that all members of the workforce are given equal opportunities.

Our digital agenda is also worth a mention. The launch of the ‘One Health and Care’ integrated care record in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent means that patients will no longer have to repeat their health concerns to each and every health professional they encounter. The records mean that health organisations across the region will all be able to view a patient’s health history, therefore avoiding repetition and saving valuable time.

However, it is important to recognise that despite these achievements, there are still some key and difficult challenges for 2020. We will be faced with the task of creating a model of care that is sustainable for local people. We will need to work even closer with local partners, GPs, voluntary and third sector organisations and local authorities to work as one system, rather than individual organisations and we will take steps to begin the work of actually delivering the Five Year Plan and the key priorities within it.

In addition, we will continue to move towards the development of Integrated Care Partnerships and look ahead to how we will build relationships to support collaborative work in this area. We will also continue to seek input and feedback from local groups and patients via local meetings and our newly established online People's Panel, to help shape the health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Wishing all Together We’re Better partners a healthy, happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Simon Whitehouse

STP Director

End of Year 2019

Health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

PCBC Image


Since the last newsletter we have been continuing to progress our Health and Care transformation programme as much as possible, whilst in the pre-election period. Our clinically led work programmes, including urgent and emergency care and planned care, are continuing to undertake detailed analysis to inform this process, including working with colleagues from workforce and estates to ensure any emerging proposals for service change are viable. 

In the New Year, momentum will build as we hold the next round of technical workshops with our experts (made up of medical directors and clinicians). At this stage there are a large number of potential scenarios, which will be further explored and refined by our technical experts over the coming months.

We are also planning our next round of workshops with staff and patient representatives in February, where they will use agreed desirable criteria to score the list of emerging proposals, helping us to refine this further.  

Although the pre-election period has meant that we have had to pause some activity, we are continuing to progress at pace where we can and are working towards the development of a Pre Consultation Business Case by Spring 2020. This will set out any future proposals for service change and the supporting detailed analysis. This will then be considered by the CCGs as the statutory decision makers. Subject to the necessary processes, this could mean that we commence the NHS England assurance stage during Spring 2020. An updated, indicative timeline is included below. The complex nature of these large-scale transformation programmes may mean that this is subject to change. We will continue to keep you informed and involved on this journey.

Involvement timeline


Can you 'Read Between the Lines' and save lives?

The 'Read Between the Lines' campaign aims to encourage people to ask others directly about their feelings - because it can help to save their life. 

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Routine dermatology services in South Staffordshire transferred

Patients with routine skin conditions in South Staffordshire are to receive care closer to home following a change in service provider.

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NHS acronyms explained

The NHS has a vast range of acronyms that are often bewildering to both practitioners, members of the public and patients.

South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG has kept track of this gradual growth in terminology and has produced a document as an aid to all those who are trying to discover what a particular acronym means.

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'Red January' for better mental health

The aim of RED January 2020 is to support our mental health in January by getting active every day, your way. RED stands for 'run every day' - but please be assured that no running is required if this isn't your thing. RED is all about pushing yourself to up your activity level from its current state.

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Go For It! Winners announced

Two UHDB staff-led projects, aimed at improving care for young patients and their families have been granted around £2,500 in funding.

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Focus on our clinically-led programmes


Prevention programme

From Andrew Donaldson, Programme Director

Since our last update, the Prevention Programme has been concentrating on co-drafting our chapter of the Together We’re Better Five Year Plan with key partners.

Our draft chapter sets out our intended approaches to prevention and health inequalities through transformation and collaboration. References areas include:

  • New and collaborative ways of achieving outcomes
  • Tailoring approaches to audiences
  • Health inequalities
  • Strengths based approaches and wider determinants

We will continue to support specialist services, but moving forwards these interventions will be complemented by a range of other approaches, for example:

  • Digital tools and solutions
  • Community-led approaches
  • Peer support
  • Partner-led initiatives
  • Healthcare public health

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Maternity, Children and Young People programme

From Mary Barlow, Maternity Transformation Programme Lead

There's been lots going on in the Maternity Transformation Programme since our last update. Including the following recent activity:

  • The Maternity Five Year Plan narrative has been submitted to NHS England. 
  • We have taken part in wave 2 of the Maternity & Neonatal Safety Collaborative, establishing maternity safety champions.
  • We now have a new Project Support Officer within the Maternity Transformation Programme team. 
  • Our Facebook page has been reinstated
  • The Maternity Voice Partnership is now working towards the needs of local women and families, prioritising hearing the voices of minority groups and those who may face health inequalities
  • The LMS is working in partnership with both the Staffordshire Early Years Advisory Board and Stoke-on-Trent Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership Board to ensure all prevention and wellbeing objectives are highlighted and included in the relevant annual plans
  • Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council have each commissioned stop smoking in pregnancy services
  • Staffordshire/Stoke-on-Trent and Shropshire Perinatal Mental Health Steering Group are planning a joint Perinatal Mental Health event for April 2020.
  • Women in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can register their pregnancies, and can access their details throughout their pregnancy, no matter where they choose to go within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  The provider Trust, UHNM, is one of the few units to capture the entire maternity journey electronically.

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Urgent and Emergency Care programme

From Becky Scullion, Programme Lead

The Urgent Care programme has been working hard on developing the transformation programmes, alongside managing the day-to-day pressures, whilst pulling together a system-wide plan that will support our patients and our system during winter. Some of our recent updates are around:

  • Simplified access
  • Integrated UEC Model and Consolidation
  • Working Together as One Health and Care System
  • Wider System Delivery
  • Red Bag Scheme
  • Emergency Department Front Door and Hospital Flow
  • Ambulance Conveyance
  • GP Streaming/Vocare
  • Hospital Flow
  • Seven day working

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Focus on our enabling programmes


OD & Leadership programme

From Linda Holland, Programme Director

Applicants to the scheme High Potential Scheme have completed an assessment process over the last few months. The scheme’s open application process was a fresh approach and has enabled us to identify our first cohort of high potential candidates to progress into senior executive roles in the future.

In preparation for the assessment centres, 31 senior managers, representing all NHS Trusts within the STP, were trained in October 2019. Assessors either took on the role of interviewers or scenario players. The dedication showed by our assessor team demonstrated the benefits of collaborative working. To celebrate this spirit of collaboration, we will be hosting an event on 19 December 2019 for our assessors and steering group.

Overall, 40 candidates attended an assessment centre and completed an online potential diagnostic questionnaire. As of 9 December, we are delighted to confirm the first cohort of the High Potential Scheme. Full feedback on the process will be offered to all candidates in January 2020.  

The scheme will launch for these individuals on 28 January 2020 at our welcome event. This will be opened by Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer.

The scheme’s unique development offer will provide participants with opportunities to develop whilst in the workplace via a range of bespoke placements. Participants will also benefit from the expertise of a careers coach, mentor and their organisational sponsor.

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