Hard work starting to pay off

I’ve just realised its been a while since my last blog so I’m hoping I’ve captured some of the key developments since my last update. The one thing I want to really emphasise is that some of the hard work we’ve been doing is now showing signs of success. In amongst all that I need to also mention I’ve been to 10 Downing Street….

One of the ways we can demonstrate how well we are doing is through the 360 feedback process that NHS England have established for CCGs. Our key contacts (commonly known as stakeholders) were given an opportunity to let us know how well they think we’re doing.

The results have been positive that reflect our ongoing development as an organisation that’s making a difference but we really do want to hear from everyone. As a result we are now contacting organisations and individuals who didn’t have a chance to feedback to tell us what two things they think we’re doing well and what two things we can improve on.

Our work to improve access and support for residents in care homes, particularly primary care services, is beginning to make a real difference to patients as well as care home staff. Another programme which has proven to be a real success is our patient empowerment project (PEP).

PEP is a social prescribing service which aims to improve the wider health and wellbeing of patients by providing GPs with a link to refer patients to local groups, services and community activities in the third sector and other statutory organisations.

We’ve seen an increase in referrals to community services and patients have fed back that they would now be more likely to use community services rather than health services. With such impressive results we’re pleased to announce that we’ll continue to fund PEP until September 2019.

We’ve also been piloting a project where we’ve been looking at reducing the number of referrals to hospital care from GPs. Early evidence suggests that this approach is working and that we’re giving patients the support they need to look after themselves at home. The six month pilot comes to an end in March 2016 when we’ll evaluate it before deciding on our next steps.

I suppose now’s a good time to mention my trip to 10 Downing Street where I met the Prime Minister as well as the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremey Hunt MP. This was linked to our successful bid to the Prime Minister’s GP Access Fund. It was a chance to meet other colleagues who had also been successful in their bid to find out about their plans. We’ve summarised our approach in this infographic.

Once I made my way back from London it was time to look at how we do things on a regional level. I attended a meeting of the Yorkshire and Humber CCGs to consider how we will commission specialised services in the future. We’re aware that some policies will be set regionally while others will require a more local approach.

The NHS Five Year Forward View has set us a number of challenges one of which is developing something called new care models. This means looking at how care is delivered in the future this could mean additional services being delivered at GP practices.

To help us with this Dr Chris Mills, our clinical lead for transformation, is looking at setting up some pilot sites to see how we can integrate services. I’m also pleased that as a city we’re looking at developing a resource that will help us commission (plan and fund) the proposed new models of care.

To support the NHS of the future and indeed the NHS now in Leeds we’ve identified a need to recruit and retain nurses from a range of specialities. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve employed two people on an 18 month secondment to help us shape the current and future nursing workforce. We want to create a workforce that’s flexible enough to adapt to our proposed new models of care with greater integration between primary and community care services.

Nursing is one of my favourite topics as I’m a registered nurse. Recently I’ve been back on the wards at St James’s Hospital working on Ward 16. These are patients who are almost ready to go home and are just waiting for appropriate support service to be set up at home.

I wanted to say I was really impressed with how clean the ward was and how seriously staff took the risk of cross infection.  And for me the highlight is always our patients and the stories they’ve got to tell. I’m looking forward to my next shift.

I encourage people to look for opportunities to develop themselves and I’m no different. I’ve enrolled onto an excellent coaching programme. To help us put our learning into practice we’ve been asked to coach our peers on the course. To do this I’ve embraced modern technology and made contact using Skype. Blogging, skyping and who knows what next, I never thought I’d be this digitally savvy!

Like everyone else I’m now looking forward to Christmas, I’m working all the way through to Christmas Eve before I pop across to Ireland until the New Year. My first day back will be a clinical day so it’ll be great to meet some more patients and hear their festive stories.

And that’s it for me for this year, have a great Christmas and I’ll be bringing my next update in the New Year.


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