All hands to the pump

Now that Christmas and New Year is out of the way for many it may be a quieter period, but the same cannot be said for the NHS here in Leeds or indeed nationally.

I’m sure you will all have seen the media headlines documenting the winter pressures being experienced by NHS trusts across the country and the ever busier A&E departments. It has been no different here in Leeds so it was really satisfying to see that our recent call for support from NHS colleagues with nursing qualifications was met with a great response – far more than I’d imagined.

I wanted to personally thank all staff across the Leeds health economy who have supported us locally to deliver the best possible care to our patients at a time of extreme pressure on the system.

Our contract management board meeting with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) has acknowledged the challenges facing the Trust which has resulted in them delaying some elective care. We will work with LTHT to see how this can be managed in light of the ongoing pressures. I also wanted to remind local people that you can help us by making the best use of local services so that you get the right treatment at the right time by the right people, you can find out more by visiting

In Leeds we have a system delivery group that looks at how we can continue to provide the best possible services in the most convenient and accessible way. It goes without saying that we are learning from the recent experiences locally and nationally so that we can improve resilience and prepare for similar winter pressures in the future. One of the issues we are looking to address is improving discharge rates from hospitals and ensuring there is appropriate community-based facilities for those who are not quite ready to be treated at home.

As part of our efforts to improve discharge rates and free up capacity in secondary care we are piloting a discharge to assess programme. We are also currently looking at the procurement options for community intermediate care beds following a recent engagement exercise.

Over the coming years the way health and care services are provided will change so that the emphasis is on providing care in community-based settings rather than at hospital. We have been working with our GPs on a funding bid that builds on the work we have been doing on integrating health and social care to meet this very aim. Our bid looks at how we can integrate primary care and community services including mental health support.

In addition to our bid for funding we have also been discussing how we can work with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to integrate mental health services and primary care. This is also reflected in our primary care strategy which outlines how this might look. Our primary care strategy will be published soon.

Colleagues here at the CCG will be pleased to hear that members of the Governing Body are not exempt from taking part in statutory and mandatory training. We recently took part in information governance training before our most recent Governing Body meeting held in public. The most recent meeting included an update on Leeds CCGs’ proposals for co-commissioning primary care with NHS England, performance updates from all local providers and our finance report.

I’m really pleased with the progress we are making on the healthy futures programme. This is the name we have given to a series of projects we are developing as part of our 10cc group made up features representatives from the 10 CCGs in our county. There are four projects that sit under the healthy futures programme: cancer, stroke, paediatrics and urgent care. To help people find out more about our work we will be launching a website for the healthy futures programme.

Linked to our work at West Yorkshire level is the Yorkshire and Humber Accountable Officers network meeting which I recently attended. This is an opportunity for CCG accountable officers to meet and discuss ideas for joint working as well as looking at opportunities to influence national policy. One of the topics for discussions was inevitably the impact of winter pressures on our local health and care systems.

January also means New Year’s resolutions. Although I haven’t quite committed to a full 12 month resolution I have signed up to go drink free in January as part of the Dry January campaign. Finally while many of us shiver in the recent cold spell my daughter has called from Melbourne, the latest stop in her round-the-world trip, complaining about 40 plus degrees temperatures – I’d happily swap!

As ever if you would like to make a comment or get in touch about anything I’ve covered please do so.


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