Learning from others here and abroad

The coming month will be a busy one for me which also includes a very special birthday but before I tell you about that I want to talk about my holiday as it has been one that has given me food for thought.

The coming month will be a busy one for me which also includes a very special birthday but before I tell you about that I want to talk about my holiday as it has been one that has given me food for thought.

I’ve recently returned from a holiday in Spain and while I was there I saw a great example of how communities can come together to help reduce the risk of social isolation especially among older people.

In the village where I stayed there was a central square and every evening we’d see older people come down to socialise with other members of the community – young and old. There’d be an eclectic mix of activities on some nights there was board games and on other nights people would get on their feet doing various physical activities including Zumba!

The intergenerational aspect of this was really inspiring and we need to look at how we can use community centres and spaces to reduce social isolation here in Leeds. While in Spain I also took part in an impromptu session of teaching English as a foreign language in exchange for Spanish lessons. Many of the elderly people were supported in using the computers in the community centre to Skype their children who lived in others areas of Spain.

Before I went away on holiday I, along with colleagues across the city, continued to make headway on the Leeds Health and Social Care Transformation Programme. I attended a HR meeting where we looked at the current health and social care workforce and the future model we could be working to that closely reflects the needs and profiles of our communities.

It has felt like I’ve not been away as one of my first meetings on my return was also around the transformation programme. Part of the work is procuring additional community intermediate care beds. This means that patients, who don’t need to be in hospital but are not quite ready to go back to their usual residence can access rehabilitation support within a specialised unit.

Colleagues across the transformation programme acknowledge that to truly changes services we need to actively inform and involve patients. We have been looking at how we can do this through our existing networks and identifying any gaps that we need to address.

I recently caught up Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, where we discussed how Leeds can do more to reduce the impact of social isolation and I told him about my experience in Spain and what we could learn from our European counterparts. I’m also meeting up with Stuart Andrew MP this week to look at the future commissioning challenges facing us here in Leeds and I’m sure these are not unique to just our city.

In West Yorkshire we have a group called 10CC which features representatives from the 10 CCGs in our county. At our most recent meeting we discussed the impact of co-commissioning, specialised commissioning as well as West Yorkshire wide transformation programmes for stroke, cancer and paediatric care as we look to move from design to implementation of our plans.

For example we are working with strategic clinical networks, a mix of those who provide care and those who plan and fund (commission) care, to ensure we have appropriate clinical support and patient involvement to ensure local stroke units can continue to provide the best possible care.

Talking of specialised commissioning and my own quest to learn and share best practice from the UK as well as abroad, I have been meeting with colleagues from South Yorkshire to see how we can co-produce contracts and develop better commissioning arrangements.

I sit on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Safer Staffing Advisory Committee and I’m about to attend a meeting where we will look at staffing levels for maternity services across the country.

When I’m back in Leeds from the Safer Staffing Advisory Committee I will be part of an interview panel for one of our currently vacant Associate Medical Director post.

Before I sign off I have two confessions to make. Firstly, I’ve realised I’ve not completed all my statutory and mandatory training so I’ve now set time aside in my diary to do this. I hope I’m not the one that is preventing us from reaching our organisation’s 100% target for completion of statutory and mandatory training.

Secondly, I am reaching an important landmark later this month – as I will be turning 50. I’m slightly worried colleagues in the office (naming no names) might be planning something to embarrass me; I just want them to know I am ready!

If you have had an idea while reading my blog be sure to get in touch.


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