Helen's Blog - April/May 2019

During the last few months, we have been working with our health partners to develop an operational plan for the 2019/20 financial year. The plan describes the ambition of how we will work together to deliver healthcare improvements for people living in the Black Country and West Birmingham over the next year.

It covers priorities such as delivering care closer to home, joining-up primary and community services and providing people with more control over their own health and more personalised care when they need it.

Our improvement plan for 2019/20 represents the first year of a five-year integrated health and care plan, which will be aligned to the priorities in the NHS Long Term Plan and published locally in autumn 2019.

The five-year plan will be owned by each of our places; Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton and most importantly will be developed from the experiences of local people and our valued health and care staff. Some of this work has already started to take place, with Healthwatch organisations engaging people on their views of local services.

Over the summer, we will continue to have conversations with our patients, public and staff, so that we produce a five-year plan that truly reflects the current and future needs of service users.

Engaging and empowering our workforce will be an important feature of our improvement plans. A key highlight from this month was hosting an event to talk to local GPs about integrated care and the launch of our clinical case for change. We were delighted to have Dr. Albert Mulley, a professor at the Dartmouth Institute as a keynote speaker at the event. Dr. Mulley manages a program dedicated to building the partnerships required to achieve sustainable health care economies and is also the founding editor of the text, Primary Care Medicine - a resource used by many GPs in their studies. He used his wealth of experience to talk about leadership in primary care and the role GPs can play in delivering integrated services, which is particularly important to our local GPs as they start to work collaboratively as part of Primary Care Networks.

Dr Helen Hibbs
Senior Responsible Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham STP

Helen's Blog - February/March 2019

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.

NHS England will fund 20,000 more staff to help GP practices work together as part of a local ‘primary care network’. The new recruits – pharmacists, physios, paramedics, physician associates, and social prescribing link workers – will free up GPs to spend more time with patients who need them, whilst ensuring patients have access to a wide range of services at their local practice.

Helen's Blog - January 2019

The much anticipated ten-year plan for the NHS was launched this month. The plan, developed by NHS England and NHS Improvement, guides the investment of an extra £20.5bn and sets out how services will change and improve, focusing on a drive towards an integrated health and social care system.
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.

Helen's Blog - December 2018

We received brilliant news from the Department of Health and Social Care earlier this month when the Government announced it would provide £79.4 million of capital funding to NHS services in the Black Country and West Birmingham. Securing this funding will mean that a number of healthcare facilities will get much-needed upgrades ensuring local patients get the high quality care they deserve, in state-of-the-art, modern facilities.

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.

Helen's Blog - October 2018

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.