Together We're Better Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Health and Care Partnership Newsletter (January/February 2020)

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Logo and Vision

January/February 2020


Simon Whitehouse

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

December saw the final meeting taking place of the Health and Care Transformation Board (HCTB) as we continue to move towards becoming an Integrated Care System (as per the NHS Long Term Plan). I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all colleagues for their hard work and efforts in supporting the board since it was formed. Whilst this meeting is coming to an end, we are forming the new Integrated Care Partnership Board. This will initially be in shadow form but will pick up the main system responsibilities of an ICS -

  • System transformation, and
  • Collective management of system performance.

The establishment of this board continues the journey for all health and care systems in working towards the goal of becoming an ICS. Colleagues will recall that the NHS Long Term Plan states that all systems will need to transition to ICS status by 2021.

A fundamental part of any of these changes is about how it improves health outcomes for our local citizens and how system partners collaborate to tackle some of our health inequality challenges. This has to be much more than just another set of meetings and we have to develop local ‘place based’ working at a much faster pace to support this work.

Another major development this month is the publication of the NHS Operational Planning Guidance. This full Planning Guidance will detail what the expectations of our system locally is and will fundamentally be about how we deliver year 2 of our Long Term Plan. Whilst this is ‘NHS’ planning guidance, our approach needs to be on how we tackle these issues as a system with all partners contributing to the work.

Currently, we are also preparing for the launch of our Five Year Plan, which is our local response to the national NHS Long Term Plan. 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. Our operating plan (detailed above) will make this a more detailed approach to delivery in 2020/21.

Finally, I had the privilege of attending the launch of our system-wide High Potential Scheme last on 28 January, in conjunction with the NHS Leadership Academy. We are the very first STP area to go live with this and it is an exciting approach to how we develop our future leaders. Sixteen participants have been selected, through a rigorous selection process, for this first cohort and we recognised this with Andrew Foster (Managing Director of the NHS Leadership Academy) and system Chief Executives supporting their colleagues. It was a fantastic morning and I am looking forward to hearing how this programme develops and how we support our local staff to maximise their potential in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We need to keep good people working in our system and we need to develop people to be the best that they can be – that will make a massive difference to how we tackle some of our local challenges and will bring about real change.

Health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

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Our clinically-led programmes are continuing to work on our system-wide transformation programme, refining a large number of emerging scenarios into a shortlist of proposals for future service change.

On Monday 27 January we held a workshop with service users, Local Representatives, members of the workforce and representatives from seldom heard groups to sense-check the desirable criteria. This follows earlier workshops held in October and November, where we discussed what was important to local people – including Quality of Care, Accessibility and Meeting Local Needs. At the workshop the group helped us to do a sense check of the proposed criteria and associated weightings and suggest any domains or performance measures that we can strengthen before we progress to scoring the proposals.

This feedback will be taken forward to the Programme Board in February to finally agree the desirable criteria. This will be used in workshops over the coming weeks to score the proposals with service users, staff and seldom heard groups and then our technical experts.

We are also pleased to be able to publicly share the full Report of Findings from the 12-week listening exercise, which took place during June and August 2019. Over 2,000 people shared their views as part of the roadshows, events and survey. To view the full report, summary and a short animation, click here.

It was reassuring to hear the many examples of people receiving high quality and timely care, and to hear praise for the fantastic workforce we have. However, we also heard examples of how we can improve the care we provide by integrating services better, reducing waiting times and developing a fair and consistent approach across the county.

These findings, together with the feedback we have received at recent workshops, will continue to inform our work.

All of this is leading to the development of our Pre-Consultation Business Case, which we hope to have developed by spring 2020.


New People’s Panel launched to help transform health and care across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

The search has begun for volunteers to form a new People’s Panel that will provide views and advice on plans to transform health and care services from the comfort of their own homes.

The panel will play an active role in helping improve services and will consist of people who will represent a cross-section of local communities.

Read More >

Patients given chance to be an NHS clinical commissioner

Patients are to be given a unique experience into the work of local NHS clinical commissioners and will have an opportunity to input in how and why they think services should be prioritised.

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New Community Rapid Intervention Service helps patients avoid unnecessary visits to A&E

In North Staffordshire, local people are benefitting from the new Community Rapid Intervention Service (CRIS), which aims to provide care closer to home and prevent an unnecessary visit to Accident and Emergency (A&E).

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Focus on our clinically-led programmes


Enhanced Primary and Community Care programme

From Steve Grange, Programme Director

One of the biggest challenges for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is that services are fragmented, and there is variation in terms of outcomes for patients who live with a long-term condition (LTC). It is recognised that patients with well-managed LTCs are less likely to need non-elective care, are more likely to manage their own health, including their mental health, and will have a greater quality of life.

LTCs fall under the banner of EPCC and within this programme of work we aim to improve:

  • diagnosis rates for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes and also atrial fibrillation (AF)
  • uptake of flu vaccinations for patients with COPD, CHD and diabetes
  • blood pressure monitoring for patients with CHD, hypertension, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease
  • smoking cessation and support
  • ongoing management of COPD patients including FEV1 tests, annual reviews and breathlessness assessments
  • the number of AF patients who are treated with anticoagulation drug therapy
  • ongoing management of diabetes patients including monitoring of cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and adherence to the NICE Nine Processes of Care for Diabetes
  • non-elective admission rates and bed days for respiratory patients.

Read More >

Planned Care

Planned Care programme

From Halima Rashid, Head of Planned Care

The Planned Care Programme aims to deliver interventions that: place more people within the right service first time; improve access into community and secondary care services; increase the likelihood of earlier diagnosis and treatment; and also offer patients maximum opportunity to self-manage, where feasible.

Fragmentation and inconsistency are a challenge across pathways. Local residents face lengthy waiting times for services and there is an imbalance in waiting times between specialities. Benchmarking demonstrates that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have opportunities to reduce variations in pathways for planned care services.

The provider landscape is complex, with delivery of services from multiple sites and the flow of Staffordshire patients outside of the county. Our system has varying challenges, such as capacity and demand mismatches, a need to reduce the increasing demand on the system from all tiers of care, and consistency of elective services across all providers. In many specialties and most providers, national Referral to Treatment (RTT) standards are not being met, with most of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs breaching the RTT targets. These variations result in poorer outcomes for patients and a higher cost to our system.

In the short term, priority areas will promote services that are delivered as part of integrated pathways across primary, community and hospital services, where evidence proves that this is the right thing to do.  


Maternity Transformation programme

From Heather Johnstone, Maternity Transformation Programme Director

The Maternity Transformation Programme is holding maternity focus groups across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent throughout January and February. The aim of the focus groups is to speak to new mums, expectant mums, people thinking about having a baby and relevant maternity staff, to listen to their views and experiences of local maternity services. The feedback gathered will help to inform and improve maternity services in local areas. 

During summer 2019, we held a 12-week public conversation across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to understand what is working well, what can be improved and what is important to local people when considering health and care services. These focus groups will help us to further understand the experiences of new mothers and pregnant women and identify how we can improve services in the area.

Dates and locations of the focus groups are:

  • 24 January, 10am until 11.30am at Charnwood Children’s Centre, Lichfield
  • 27 January, 1pm until 2.30pm at East Staffordshire Children’s Centre, Burton
  • 28 January, 2pm until 3.30pm at Newcastle Community Fire Station
  • 29 January, 10.30am until 12pm at Rising Brook Community Church, Stafford
  • 4 February, 10am until 11.30am at Cannock Chase Children’s Centre
  • 7 February, 1pm until 2.30pm at The Dudson Centre, Stoke-on-Trent

We will be announcing two more dates shortly, and these will be available on the Together We're Better website.

Read More >

Focus on our enabling programmes


OD & Leadership programme

From Shajeda Ahmed, Programme Director

On 28 January, Together We’re Better hosted a launch event for the High Potential Scheme. A total of 16 successful candidates were welcomed from across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system, who were successful in their applications to take part in this innovative new programme.

Together We’re Better will run the programme, developed by the NHS Leadership Academy, as a national pilot. The keynote speaker at the launch was Andrew Foster, Chair of Improving NHS Leadership Culture Workstream, Executive Lead for Leadership with NHSE/I and interim Managing Director of the NHS Leadership Academy.

The two-year programme has been developed to nurture the leadership talent that already exists within the workforce. It is aimed at staff who already have practical experience, excellent knowledge of staff and systems, and who understand that positive outcomes for the patient are the priority.

They will gain practical leadership experience in a range of roles and settings, alongside strategic experience through assignments and projects. They’ll also work with a career coach to design a bespoke development plan that supports them.

The scheme targets middle level clinical or non-clinical leaders with the potential and aspiration to progress into a senior executive role in health and care.

More information about the High Potential Scheme is available on the Together We’re Better website at

Read More >


Estates programme

From Becky Jones, Programme Director

Our plans to update and improve buildings including hospitals, GP surgeries and council care facilities have been praised, clearing the way for potential future investments.

Our Estates Strategy has been officially rated as “Good” and this means that work can begin to pull together a series of projects that could attract funding to give the area more of the most up-to-date buildings.

This is welcome news for hospitals, GP surgeries, health and care villages and anywhere else that health and care services are provided from. It’s important to have the best estates, so that services can be delivered in a way that is safe, efficient and easy for everyone to access.

The last assessment, carried out in 2018, rated the Estates Strategy as “Improving”. A rating of “Good” is required from NHS England and NHS Improvement to access greater potential capital investment. This success means the programme has increased potential to deliver more facilities like the health and care villages, such as Northfields in Stafford, as well as improve more traditional facilities.

The health and care villages aim to deliver primary care, enhanced primary care, community facilities, training facilities, residential care, dementia care, extra care housing and key worker accommodation, all in one state-of-the-art complex.

Work will now begin to understand the clinical priorities and develop a project pipeline that will enable the required transformation to take place and deliver these projects.

For each planned project, individual business cases will need to be made and funding applied for.

Read More >


Digital programme

From Stuart Lea, Programme Director

To inform the local population across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, the One Health and Care ‘Fair Processing’ campaign has been running from the latter end of last year.

The campaign outlines the benefits of the One Health and Care electronic integrated care records and explains how to opt out if people wish to. 

To reach out to as many people as possible across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, the following collaterals were used:

  • posters and leaflets
  • digital displays
  • pull-up banners
  • newspaper advertising
  • website/social media

The One Health and Care team have also been visiting many GP practices across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and are pleased that more than 61 GP practices have now registered on the Information Sharing Gateway.

For more information, please visit


Workforce programme

From Mish Irvine, Programme Director

The Together We’re Better Workforce Programme has been busy planning ahead for an exciting 2020. This year will see the continuation of recruiting to new apprenticeships, creating new schemes to address workforce challenges and working with system partners to bring sustainability and positive transformation to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent health and care workforce. Here is an update on work so far:

  • In January, the Palliative Care apprentices began their first rotational placements across different care settings in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
  • In November, the first Together We’re Better Digital Workforce Group met for a collaborative workshop. The group focusses on bringing together all key stakeholders within the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent health and care system to retain and engage the workforce, inspire and develop digital skills and leadership and increase staff capacity.
  • Building on the outputs of the Think Tank workshops, which took place at the end of last year and focussed on sustainability, the team is also developing plans in relation to flexible working and retaining people within our system and career pathways.
  • Step into Work, a new programme created with Health Education England and developed with the DWP and Stoke-on-Trent College, will be rolled out across Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Shropshire job centres at the end of January.
  • The new health and social care scheme, I Care…Ambassadors (supported by Together We’re Better and the Care Market Development Team), is relaunching on Monday 24 February. This is a scheme for colleagues who are already working to widen participation, as they engage with schools and careers advisers to motivate and inspire working within the sector.
  • Two Young People’s Conferences will be taking place in March to support Gatsby benchmarks, giving young people exposure to many roles across health and social care.
  • Colleagues across the system can also apply for the Apprenticeship Levy Sharing Programme and submit applications to help develop themselves and their staff. Applications can be submitted here.
  • The Redeployment Service continues to provide support to staff at risk of redundancy across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, seeking suitable alternative employment wherever possible. To date, the service has co-ordinated the successful redeployment of 167 members of staff and have saved the NHS £4.2 million in redundancy costs.

If you or your organisation are interested in taking part in any of the above mentioned programmes or events; or would like more information please contact the Workforce programme here.

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