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

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Logo and Vision

February 2020


Simon Whitehouse

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

Last month saw the first meeting of the Integrated Care Partnership Board in its shadow form. The formation of this Board is the next step in our journey towards becoming an Integrated Care System – an ‘ICS’ (as per the NHS Long Term Plan). The new Integrated Care Partnership Board, while still in shadow form, will pick up the main system responsibilities of an ICS -

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

NHS Operating Planning Guidance for the Long-Term Plan details what the expectations of our system are locally, and so our approach, going forward, will need to consider how we tackle these expectations with all partners contributing to the work.

So, as we move forward with the ICS, it is vital that we understand what this transition will actually mean and what difference it will bring in terms of improvements in health outcomes and the approach towards population health locally. However, if this only becomes a conversation or discussion that is purely about governance and committees, then we will have completely missed the point and overlooked the opportunity that is currently in front of us.

There are many challenges ahead in terms of ICS development and we need to be asking and investigating questions, such as:

  • How do we build resilience within primary care when working at scale and how do we engage Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in the right way?
  • How will PCNs drive towards integrated community services that look fundamentally different than they do now?
  • How will we use Population Health Management approaches to make sure the information and intelligence that determines some of our decision-making, is based on what the situation is for local people?
  • What are the challenges in terms of tackling health inequalities at a local level?
  • How do we fundamentally get back to a way of working that focuses on the three levels of ‘neighbourhood’, ‘place’ and ‘systems’ and ensure that our providers work differently with the public, voluntary and third sectors to drive this agenda?

All these questions are vital and will need to be addressed if we are to ensure that all our health and care system achieves the goal of transitioning to ICS status successfully.

In addition, we have recently hosted a number of productive workshops on the development of our Integrated Care Partnerships. These workshops have been led by Peter Axon, CEO of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for the Together We’re Better OD & Leadership Programme.

A wide range of system leaders, clinicians and lay members have attended these sessions, including CCG Chairs, Executives, lay members, managers, and membership and clinical leads. Also included were provider Chairs, CEOs, managers and clinicians, as well as Primary Care Network clinical directors and Local Authority representatives.

The ambition for providing care in an integrated way through Integrated Care Partnerships is to deliver seamless care closer to a person’s home. These workshops have been about removing barriers and allowing organisations to work in fundamentally new ways. I would like to stress that it is these partnerships that will need to be the real engine rooms and places from where we drive the clinical change conversations. It is this sort of co-creation with the partners that will form the Integrated Care Partnerships, putting care in the heart of the community.

During the last few weeks, we have also been successfully recruiting to the recently launched Together We’re Better People’s Panel and are close to reaching our target of 1,000 panel members by the end of March 2020. The panel will consist of people from a cross-section of local communities and they will take part in regular short online surveys and occasionally meet face to face. The ability for people to have their say and help us transform health and care services from the comfort of their own homes means that we will hopefully be able to engage and involve those members of the community that we do not usually reach through traditional involvement listening exercises, such as those who cannot or would not usually attend public meetings. We are currently developing the first survey and hope to have sent this out in the next month. We will of course keep you updated on the feedback we receive from the panel and I am looking forward to seeing how this develops in the future.

It’s important that we keep involving local people and staff in everything that we do and listening to their views via different formats, such as listening events or online surveys, so that we can transform health and care services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent for the better. We need to keep our vision at the forefront of all we do: “To make Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the healthiest places to live and work”.

Health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

PCBC Image

Our work continues in the PCBC programme, as we look to refine our long list of proposals into a short list. At our technical workshops, at the end of January, we made real progress in assessing the proposals against the estates, workforce and demand and capacity analysis. Our Clinical Advisory Group is involved at every stage, reviewing the clinical models and providing clinical oversight to the process. 

Our next step is to consider any clinical interdependencies, that may exist between the different work programmes under review. We are also working on the necessary impact and travel analysis, to inform the emerging proposals. 

As our proposals become clearer, we have been working with system partners to ensure that they are sighted on progress. 

Once this initial analysis is complete, we will be able to organise the scoring workshops with our public and staff reference group during spring.   

All of this will inform our technical group, as they refine the proposals that will eventually feature in the Pre Consultation Business Case.

We are still in the formative stages, and as a result there are no options and no decisions have been made. We will aim to keep you informed and involved throughout this journey.


New Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service to launch 1 April

A service providing care and support to people experiencing common mental health problems in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is to be made easier and quicker to access, thanks to a new partnership of local NHS and community organisations.

Launching on April 1, the new Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service brings together existing improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) teams in the county into one, fully integrated service with a single point of access.

Read More >

Local Trust joins forces with the wider NHS to help combat climate change

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is taking steps to help combat the effects of climate change by working with the wider NHS. The 'For a greener NHS' programme involves national-scale working with NHS staff, hospitals and partners and supports the NHS commitment to a 'Net Zero' target on carbon emissions. According to NHS England, the health and care system in England is responsible for an estimated 4-5% of the country's carbon footprint.

Read More >

Local Trust moves up the rankings in national staff survey

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) is celebrating, having moved up the rankings in the national staff survey.

Almost 5,000 of its staff completed the national NHS staff survey at the end of last year. Their answers demonstrated significant improvements in 21 questions, when compared with the year before. The trust is now Ranked 5th out of 12 Trusts with the institute for positive scores; in 2018 they were ranked 6th. Compared with the Trusts of its type and using reports from the Picker Institute, MPFT performed significantly better in 24 questions.

Read More >

Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent seeks patient experience of NHS and social care in the home  

Healthwatch Stoke-on-Trent is asking people for their experience of NHS and/or social care at home. They want as many people as possible to share their experiences, so that they can communicate what needs to change to make services better with both the NHS and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. They will also share this information with Healthwatch England so that they can gather national intelligence about what matters to patients and what change they want to see.

Read More >

Focus on our clinically-led programmes

Mental Health

Mental Health programme

From Jonathan O'Brien, Programme Director

The past six months have been very busy for the Together We’re Better Mental Health Programme and here is our update of recent activities

We have recently refreshed our Programme Board membership and governance, so that it reflects the priorities outlined in the national NHS Long Term Plan and Mental Health Implementation Plan. This refresh was important to ensure that we have the right people in place, drawn from organisations across the partnership, in order to deliver improvements in services over the next five years.

I am pleased to say the Programme Board now has representation from the range of Together We’re Better partners and, in particular, the two mental health trusts are working closer than ever to ensure consistent development of services. The new governance arrangements have been in place since January 2020.

Our Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services are the cornerstone of community mental health services, providing rapid access to psychological therapies for common mental illness. These services have been tendered recently by the six Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs and I’m delighted that our two NHS mental health providers, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, have been successful in securing the contract to run these services. This is incredibly important as the expansion of these services over the coming years will ensure that a strong foundation exists for mental health services consistently across the whole Together We’re Better footprint.

In October 2019, we held our second Suicide Prevention Conference which was another successful event that highlighted the latest research, initiatives and successes in our quest to achieve Zero Suicide in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The third conference will be hosted by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday 1 October 2020. Please hold the dates in your diary!

Read More >


Prevention programme

From Andrew Donaldson, Programme Director

Our Prevention Board is now in the process of translating the Prevention Strategy that is outlined in the national NHS Long Term Plan, into a system-wide delivery plan.

The delivery plan will set out the implementation of the prevention requirements of the NHS Long Term Plan (smoking, obesity, alcohol, AMR, air pollution, health inequalities). It will also outline commitments from NHS partners to contribute toward local authority-led prevention programmes, such as the Staffordshire County Council-led Supportive Communities programme and the Stoke on Trent City Council-led CVD prevention programme. It will also set out how we will collaborate with other Together We're Better programmes that have strong links to prevention work, including social prescribing and Population Health Management.

We are still to receive confirmation from the national centre about how some aspects of the NHS Long Term Plan are to be funded and implemented. However, the increasing collaboration between the two local authorities, the six Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs and NHS provider trusts will mean that we can push ahead with some elements of the plan and build on existing prevention initiatives for the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.


Maternity Transformation programme

From Heather Johnstone, Maternity Transformation Programme Director

Since the end of January we have held several maternity focus groups throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with a further two still yet to come.

The aim of these focus groups is speak to new mums, expectant mums, people thinking about having a baby and relevant maternity staff and to listen to their views and experiences of local maternity services. Their feedback will help our programme to inform and improve maternity services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

So far, we have been to Lichfield, Burton-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Cannock Chase and Stoke-on-Trent.

The two remain focus groups are as follows:

  • 27 February, Wombourne Leisure centre
  • 28 February, Leyfields Children’s Centre, Tamworth

Once the focus groups are complete, feedback will be collated and analysed and will help to inform our proposals for future services.

In addition, on 6 February the Maternity Transformation team held an event in Stafford to mark the relaunch of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP). This drop-in event was aimed at new and expectant mums or people working in maternity services, with the aim of recruiting Maternity Champions. Maternity Champions help us to get feedback from mums and their families at groups they already attend, such as mother and baby groups. They then feed this back to us, where it is incorporated into our work and used to improve services.

Read More >