Together We're Better Monthly Newsletter

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Together We're Better Monthly Newsletter

September 2021

Prem Singh, Indepedent Chair

Since being formally established as an Integrated Care System (ICS) on 1 April 2021, all our partners have been involved in supporting and progressing our transition to prepare us for potential statutory changes in April 2022. This work continues at pace and there is now a plethora of guidance that has been published.

However, this transitional work has been happening against a continued and unremitting focus on restoring and recovering services for local people – our collective priority. We continue to be grateful for the work and effort that is taking place across all parts of our system. Recent weeks have seen significant pressures across all of our urgent and emergency care pathways and services. The response, as ever, has been impressive, but I am under no illusion as to how hard this continues to be for colleagues and patients alike. Equally, I am well sighted on how concerning it is if this pressure continues through the autumn and into the winter.

As we continue to prepare for the legislative changes, I’d like to assure you that we remain focused and committed to improving people’s health and wellbeing through our transformation programme. This programme aims to further develop shared clinical and professional leadership, and a determination to reduce health and care inequalities through integrated working. Indeed, the current pressures reinforce the need for us to reduce duplication and inefficiency in the way that care is delivered. It is a driver for us to look at the integration agenda as a solution, rather than an additional project that sits on top of the day job. It is about how we find joint solutions and then put them in place.

As part of our continued focus on the culture that we want for our system, and to continue our work on improving outcomes for people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, we thought it pertinent to revisit the vision, purpose, and leadership values of our system. This acts as a reminder of how we will work together going forwards.

At our most recent meeting held on the 19th August, the Board met to readopt and ratify the vision, purpose statement and leadership compact of the ICS – all aspects that will underpin the culture and focus of our system.

Our vision remains, ‘working with you to make Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the healthiest places to live and work.’ We have a strong commitment from all our partners to make this vision a reality and to make a real difference to our residents and communities, by working together.

This vision was co-produced and developed several years ago with lots of careful and considered input from local people, and now we needed to reaffirm this vision.

In addition to the vision, Board partners also confirmed our purpose statement:

  • If you live in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent, your children will have the best possible start in life and will start school ready to learn.
  • Through local services, we will help you to live independently and stay well for longer.
  • When you need help, you will receive joined-up, timely and accessible care, which will be the best that we can provide.

The vision and purpose statement were also augmented and enhanced with a set of behaviours and values that form our new Leadership Compact. This includes trust, respect, courage, kindness and compassion, openness and honesty, looking forward, leading by example and system first. All partners have committed to this Leadership Compact, and we will continue to revisit this to ask ourselves whether it is being followed and where we can improve.

As all of this progresses, the board and I recognise the significant pressures that are being faced across the health and care system. We fully support and value the outstanding efforts of all those who contribute to the ICS system – each and every health and care role is valued and makes a difference in helping improve the lives of our local patient population.

Prem Singh, ICS Independent Chair

ICS Core Priorities

Frailty: Healthy Ageing and Frailty Strategy

Initial discussions have been held with Jon Rouse, Senior Executive Lead for the strategy, which spans a number of programmes.

The project specific updates, including falls, Community Rapid Intervention Service (CRIS), slowing down the progression of frailty, and prevention, can be found below.

Read more>


System Savings

Following the design and agreement of our System Financial Strategy, we have now launched the underpinning system savings programme.

The strategy seeks to address the underlying system financial gap, which we have calculated as about £200 million – 7% of the annual cost of £2.7 billion of providing healthcare to our population. The strategy seeks to limit the growth of activity so that we can maintain costs at the current level, thus allowing growth funding to be used to close the gap. We decided that doing this over a few years is better than making cuts to existing services now.

Having agreed on this approach, the system has been working to agree a series of projects that will deliver this strategy. We have agreed 20 Project Implementation Plans (PIPs) that describe the project, who is responsible and how we will know whether it worked (the underpinning metrics).

Read more>


Health Inequalities

Partners from across the system are working together with a vision to address the health inequalities and improve health and wellbeing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. A cross-organisational, multi-agency approach has been adopted to address the needs of disproportionately impacted and under-represented groups, to enable everyone to have the opportunity to live a healthier and longer life.

A Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Health Inequalities working group, comprising of representatives from the two councils, the six CCGs, the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has been formed. It meets bi-weekly and has adopted a collaborative approach to improving COVID-19 vaccination uptake using the Community Champions approach across the patch.

Read more>


Restoration and Recovery: Focus on 'People'

Since the start of the pandemic, the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICS People Function team has worked with system partners to implement significant changes across the health and social care workforce, focusing on recruitment and retention. The main areas of focus have been developing our People Hub, the reserves programme, widening participation, workforce planning and retention.

Read more>>


Organisational Development, Leadership, Inclusion and Staff Health and Wellbeing

These programmes specifically focus on how we achieve cultural transformation across the ICS. Fundamental to our activity is providing a working environment that is psychologically safe and supportive of the range of needs we have as individuals, whether that be physical, psychological or emotional.

Summarised below are the programmes of activity, which we have been collaboratively undertaking in our system:

Read more>


Transforming services

Our transformation programmes restarted in August 2021, having been paused since March 2020, to allow partners to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maternity was the first programme to restart, and we will soon be holding involvement events which will be asking for feedback on Urgent and Emergency Care services and the George Bryan Centre, providing services to residents of Burton upon Trent, Lichfield and Tamworth and surrounding areas.

Read more>


Focus on ICS Programmes and Priorities

COVID-19 vaccination programme

With our vaccination figures now at 835,002 for first doses and 761,532 for second doses, we have now reached a total of 88.7% of our local target for all ages. In another milestone moment for the vaccination programme, Tunstall Vaccination Centre administered its 100,000th dose in August, an impressive achievement, delivered through our coordinated efforts.  

A host of vaccination centres continue to run across the county, as well GP and pharmacy sites, walk-in and pop-up clinics in our local communities.  A result of the tireless commitment from teams across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, whether frontline clinic staff and volunteers to those behind the scenes ensuring logistics and planning are in place, we never cease to be amazed by their efforts and energy. Our partners too are pivotal – from those within the NHS to councils, police, fire services and the private sector – we really could not have achieved these levels of vaccination without you.

Yet we still have so much to do. And we’re doing it. Our focus continues on encouraging communities and groups in locations with lower uptakes, to come forward for both jabs so that they are also fully vaccinated and protected. These include pregnant women, members of ethnic communities and those aged 18-29. 

Those in the younger age groups between 12 and 17.75 years, who meet the updated August eligibility criteria, are now being vaccinated and we’ll be ramping up these efforts even more in the coming days and weeks. 

Plans and actions are well underway as the flu vaccination season gets going, while we await details of the proposed COVID-19 booster programme for those who have had their first two doses. Whether you're due a first or second dose, we're looking forward to seeing more of you in our vaccination clinics so that you can see more of your family, friends and loved ones.


NHS 111

It is a national ambition to enhance the use of NHS 111 to help reduce the number of avoidable attendances in our Emergency Departments (EDs) and other urgent care settings. This is especially important at the current time, as we are seeing unprecedented demand and at the same time need to keep patients and staff safe through social distancing measures.

To support this, we are encouraging the public to use or download the NHS App. Both platforms take you through the same questions as the NHS 111 phone service and are sensitive enough to signpost people to phone 111 if their query cannot be dealt with online.

Read more>



COVID-19 vaccination lead nominated for national award for outstanding team effort

A key figure in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s hugely successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been shortlisted for a coveted national award. Dr Paddy Hannigan is Clinical Lead for the campaign. He also held that position for the flu vaccination campaign that preceded it.

He has been shortlisted in the Clinical Leader of the Year category in the HSJ Awards 2021. Dr Hannigan has been a GP in Stafford for 32 years and has been Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG since 2013.

Read more>


Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust shortlisted for four HSJ awards

MPFT colleagues have been shortlisted in four award categories at the HSJ Awards 2021, recognising their outstanding contribution to healthcare – in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector.

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Innovative trial aims to save patients unnecessary chemotherapy

Breast cancer patients at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust are benefitting from an innovative new approach to cancer treatment. UHNM has become the top UK recruiter to a trial which aims to establish how responsive a patient’s tumour will be to chemotherapy.

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UHDB Director receives MBE for ‘Derby Door’ invention

Paul Brooks, Director of Patient Experience, Estates and Facilities invented an inflatable ‘door’ to help segregate ward areas for cleaning and contain the outbreak of infections. This has been pivotal in helping to reduce the spread of infection in University of Derby and Burton Hospitals during the pandemic.

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New strategy to support SEND children ‘to be the best they can be’

At a cabinet meeting on 10 August, Stoke-on-Trent City Council approved their inclusion strategy for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. A more preventative approach will enable children with additional needs access to the right support at the right time, delivered by the right people, in order to encourage inclusion in education and health and wellbeing services.

Read more>


Celebrating Stoke-on-Trent Pride 2021

This year was the first time the local health and care system had jointly attended Stoke-on-Trent Pride, and constant stream of visitors were welcomed to the stall. Visitors talked about their experiences of accessing NHS services, enquired about working in the NHS and took part in wellbeing activities including a yoga lesson. (View photos on Twitter post)