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.

The new contract will help join-up care, with neighbouring practices, big and small working in multi-disciplinary teams with other community services. This will have particular benefit to older people living with frailty and others with long term and complex conditions.

Across the Black Country and West Birmingham, this will build upon the work that we are already doing to introduce new roles within general practice and provide GP extended opening times during evenings and weekends. As well as this, we are working with our GP colleagues to recruit and retain clinicians within general practice, launching a number of schemes which support GPs with coaching, training, and career development. We are also continuing to roll-out the use of digital technology, including online services and virtual consultations.

Having spent nearly 30 years as a GP, I believe that excellent and accessible general practice is an essential part of our health and care system. The contract brings with it new opportunities and much-needed investment which makes this an exciting time for our valued primary care workforce.

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

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.

Helen's Blog - August 2018

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.