Back in February, I was delighted to hear the news that a new five-year general practice contract was being introduced to expand GP services in England and kick-start the NHS Long Term Plan implementation. The five-year contract is the biggest reform that general practice has seen in the last 15 years, with billions of extra investment for improved access to family doctors and longer appointments for patients who need them.
Some of the ways the Long Term Plan aims to improve patient care is by making sure everyone gets the best start in life, that world-class care is delivered to people with major health problems and that we support people to age well.
Modernising health and care services is an important priority for the STP and as we await the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan, we will continue to identify new ways of working which enables services to be better coordinated around the needs of local people.
As we approach the winter season, we have been working with our health and care partners to ensure there is enough capacity to meet the predicted rise of people admitted to hospitals. Our local A&E delivery boards and the STP urgent and emergency care workstream are planning the best way of responding to winter pressures whilst protecting the standards of service which patients expect.
It is important that our local communities are supported to stay well during winter, and most importantly that they know where to go to if they become unwell. As part of this work, we have developed a winter communications plan which outlines how we will work together to encourage people to take ownership of their health and access the right service for their particular health needs.
We received wonderful news from the Midland Metropolitan Hospital earlier this month when the Government announced it will fund the completion of the new site following the collapse of Carillion at the beginning of this year. As a partnership, we have been fully behind the development of the Midland Met which will have a major impact on health services across the region. Securing this funding is great news for residents in the Black Country and West Birmingham.
Further good news has come with our successful completion of a 12-week development programme commissioned by NHS England. We were invited to take part in the programme to help us take our partnership to the next level. It has proved extremely useful, enabling us to bring our thinking together and develop a detailed roadmap that will lead us to become an integrated care system over the next two to three years. The roadmap recognises the work we have already done and identifies what still needs doing to achieve our triple aim of improved health and wellbeing, high quality care and secure finances.