Even though the general election is looming and with it a chance that national policy for the health service could change we still have a duty to prepare for the future. This is because transforming primary care will be a key cornerstone of the future of the NHS regardless of which political party is in power.
I recently attended a meeting called ‘Access 2020 Primary Care’ which looked at what primary care could look like in the future and how it fits in with NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. The meeting involved clinicians as well as commissioners both from CCGs and NHS England.
It was really pleasing to see that we had a shared vision of the future of primary care and how we could make improvements using new technology and innovative approaches around the kinds of services that could be made available at primary care level.
I was really pleased to be asked to become a trustee on the board for the Foundation of Nursing Studies. This follows on from a meeting I had with Dr Theresa Shaw, Chief Executive for the foundation. As a registered nurse I want to promote the role of nursing in driving through innovation and improvement in the quality of care for patients.
Work continues on improving stroke services for patients in West Yorkshire as part of our work on the Healthy Futures Programme. This is a collaborative approach that involves representatives from 10 CCGs in West Yorkshire as well as Harrogate CCG.
We have a final draft of our strategy for Atrial Fibrillation patients. This includes looking at options for new processes for testing patients that can improve management of their care as well as ensuring closer adherence to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance for all patients. Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
There have been a number of recent shocking safeguarding cases across the country highlighting failings in care for some of the most vulnerable people within our communities. It is reassuring to know that our most recent assessment by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board has commended us for our work we have done around child protection. If anyone has any concerns about a child there are services you can contact.
I was also impressed by members of the student Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Board. They are health and social care students from Leeds City College who provide insight and help the Board produce tailor made materials for children and young people. They interviewed me to find out more about my role as a chief executive and they certainly kept me on my toes!
Making services accessible for all our patients is a key priority for us as well as all our partners and providers. I recently met with Nancy Rhodes from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s wheelchair service to talk about how we can implement a Department of Health pilot project. Part of the project involves collecting data to understand current and expected future demand and the second part of the pilot is about improving services and becoming a Wheelchair Champion on behalf of our population.
We recently held a Governing Body workshop where we were given excellent feedback for progress made in mental health services and children’s services while acknowledging some of the pressures in the system. At the time of writing I was preparing for our Governing Body meeting held in public on 4 March at Pudsey Civic Hall, please do read papers from the meeting.
On a personal note I finally overcame my nerves during my recent skiing holiday in Bulgaria as I attempted to ski down the black runs (apparently the steepest runs), this only occurred because the ski instructor was very firm and told me to stop saying I couldn’t do it and just get on with it. The relief getting to the bottom was unbelievable. I’m also pleased to hear that my daughter is going to be returning from her round the world trip. She’s really looking forward to cooler weather and even some snow – I’m not sure if the rest of us are though.
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