Going back to where it all started

Thirty two years to the day when I first stepped out into nursing I was back retracing my steps and learning new skills but before I tell you more about that I thought I’d give you a quick snapshot of what I’ve been up to in the last fortnight…has it really only been two weeks since my last blog?

We’ve recently been working with NHS England’s local area team picking up from some of the actions from our quarter one assurance meeting which went really well again reflecting the excellent progress we are making as a CCG.

The main focus of our discussions with NHS England’s local area team has been around co-commissioning particularly around specialised commissioning. Specialised services are those provided in relatively few hospitals, accessed by comparatively small numbers of patients but with catchment populations of usually more than one million.

We will be taking on commissioning responsibilities for a small amount of specialised services by the end of March 2015 and now need to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place. We also need to work together with NHS England to consider where there is an overlap in care pathways with other routine and specialised services so that we can provide seamless care for patients.

At a recent meeting of the West Yorkshire Stroke Leadership Team we looked at how we can work together at a regional level to support patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).  Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. This fits in with my recent meeting with chief executives across West Yorkshire (commissioning and provider organisations) to help develop a shared understanding of how we deliver stroke services in the region.

I’ve also met with Sally Bower from our medicines management team to identify how community pharmacy can support new ways of working with patients who have AF. Community pharmacy is at times an untapped primary care resource and, both nationally and locally, there is a commitment to help people understand what services their local pharmacy can provide them. This fits in with the wider aim of ensuring patients get the right treatment, in the right place from the right professional at the right time.

I’ve been asked to speak at a national conference on safer staffing levels on 24 November as part of my role on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Safer Staffing Advisory Committee. To help me prepare for this I met up with Richard Gibson, Head of Governance for the three Leeds CCGs, to understand views of both commissioners and providers around what they think constitutes safe staffing levels.

Now back to my step back in time…on the latest session of my involvement in the preceptee nurse scheme, designed to improve practice nurse recruitment rates, I undertook venepuncture training. With apologies for anyone who may be squeamish, venepuncture is the procedure of inserting a needle into a vein, usually for the purpose of withdrawing blood for medical analysis. When I’m next back at Leeds Student Medical Practice I will be putting my latest training into practice.

I also got a chance to meet the other preceptee nurses who told me how much they have been enjoying the scheme. What really struck me was that if it wasn’t for this project none of them would have considered a role in practice nursing. This really shows the value of the preceptee nurse scheme and also reminds me that we need to encourage student nurses to consider a career in such a vital role in primary care.

In my last blog I told you about my daughter’s round the world trip. She is currently in Toronto about to embark on the next leg of her journey which will take her to New York. I spoke to her this week and she told me how much she is enjoying her trip. While I’m sad that she is away it is great to come back to a clean house and to see food still in the fridge! But it is not just me who is missing her, our spaniel has been lying outside her bedroom door looking sad…

That’s it from me until next time.


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