Collaboration is key

Two years after the implementation of the key changes as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 it is clear the future of the NHS (and social care) is dependent upon collaboration, an observation based on some really fruitful meetings and workshops I’ve attended recently.

We’ve recently begun a review into partnership governance arrangements in Leeds as we’ve realised there are 84, yes 84 groups dealing with partnership agreements and the governance that go with this. We are now working on ways to streamline this governance process, the first example of collaboration in my blog.

One of the unintended consequences of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 was that it led to a greater split between commissioners and providers. We are now working on closing this artificial gap that has appeared. As part of efforts to address this I’ll be attending a meeting with chief executives of provider and commissioning organisations in Leeds. This meeting is about how we make the Leeds pound (combined NHS and Leeds City Council budget) stretch further. Collaboration example number two.

Collaboration isn’t just about partnerships in the city but also those we can nurture beyond our city. Luckily we have a well-established group as part of the Healthy Futures programme which includes representatives from the 10 CCGs in West Yorkshire as well as NHS Harrogate and Rural Districts CCG. We are now looking at how we can embed the key elements of the programme within our respective areas. More on this in a future blog…

I’ll be attending a summit for commissioners across the north of England, yes it’s that word again…collaboration. The summit will look at new models of care (as outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View), the devolution agenda, clinical priorities in particular cancer and co-commissioning of primary care. We will also be looking at something which we are sure will continue to receive media exposure this winter, urgent and emergency care.

And I’m really sorry but its time for the ‘c’ word again, there’s a meeting taking place with those responsible for specialised commissioning. Again we need to collaborate to ensure we make the most of our limited resources while providing the best possible care.

Back to collaboration but at very much a local level for our CCG. We held a workshop on the future of primary care  to develop a vision of how primary care might look like in the future. The plans we develop will need to be approved by our 37 member practices and we will be consulting with them in due course. We will need to also consider what the impact of our plans will be on our organisation.

Primary care was also on the agenda at the recent Health and Wellbeing Board meeting. There’s a commitment in Leeds to improve quality and access to primary care in Leeds. In addition, we need to be ready for the potential challenges that co-commissioning might bring. Yes you’ve guessed it, another opportunity for collaboration.

I must add that following a recent chat with the Health Service Journal’s Lawrence Dunhill, I realised how much we’d done already to improve access to primary care. I also know there’s still more we can do both with our CCG and across Leeds.

On a personal level it’s been an exciting time for me. I began my career in the NHS as a nurse and I’ve maintained my nurse registration. I’m pleased to say that I’ve got a clinical placement lined up at St James’s Hospital, I’m raring to go all I need is my uniform!

I’ve just recently enjoyed a weekend break in Dublin. As they say everything in moderation so I’ve enjoyed the odd pint of a well-known brew, a bit of the rugby and a bit of culture as we visited Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. If you’re ever heading to Dublin I would strongly advise a visit to Trinity College’s Library. Oh I forgot to say I also enjoyed lots of cake but I’ve been cycling hard so just rewards I feel.

If you missed it, I completed the coast to coast challenge raising money for St Gemma’s Hospice in the process. That’s given me the cycling bug and I’m looking to buy a road bike and my next challenge is the Ireland coast to coast challenge, a 427 mile trail from Malin Head to Mizen Head.

Finally my daughter Hannah has started university although she must miss the sight of the Dales as she’s back every weekend.

Collaboration is a big theme of my blog, if you’ve any ideas about how we can improve partnership working, do get in touch.


Philomena Corrigan is the Chief Executive for NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group