Season of goodwill

As we approach Christmas there have been recent examples of generosity and goodwill that remind me of the importance of people working together and helping each other, the same is true of organisations.

We are well aware of the various challenges that face us in health and social care. However in recent weeks I’ve been enthused by the openness and willingness of different partners coming together to look at solutions that can help us face these challenges head on.

I recently attended an event called State of the City which gave an opportunity for local councillors and other health and wellbeing organisations to look at how we can improve the current health and social care experience of people in the city. We had a particular focus on addressing health inequalities and that is why it was important to have representatives from a range of sectors such as housing in attendance and not just traditional health and social care organisations.

I left the event feeling energised knowing that there are so many organisations and community assets that can help us improve the health and wellbeing of our local communities. If you are on Twitter you can find out more about the day’s event using #LeedsSotc.

I jointly led a transforming workforce roles workshop with Jane Stageman, from the HR and Organisational Development Team at Leeds City Council. Delegates were very interested in the presentation from Rosamund Roughton, Director of Commissioning for NHS England, in which she introduced an overview of the Five Year Forward View.

Her overview reinforced our local thinking that we need radically different solutions which will include transformational changes to our own roles within health and social care. This means we can develop and deliver innovative programmes that benefit patients and staff.

Once again it was another event that left me feeling optimistic for the future. I heard some really interesting ideas from people working in the commercial as well as acute and community care sectors. It was great to see that some radically different approaches are already being adopted.

The openness I mentioned earlier was evident at the most recent meeting of 10CC (which features representatives from the 10 CCGs in our county). Julian Hartley, Chief Executive for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, gave us an honest assessment of the current issues and challenges facing the Trust. He also provided us with an update on how the Trust is planning to be more sustainable in the future and developing services to meet its role as a regional tertiary provider.

At this time of the year many of us have to consider our budgets as we look to pay for the various festive-related gifts and nights out. For me and my colleagues across the city we have to consistently consider how we can deliver the best value for the ‘Leeds pound’ – the combined NHS and local authority budget.

To help us with this we have a systems delivery group for chief executives of NHS organisations in the city as well as Leeds City Council. We recently met to see our progress against our key objectives such as the Leeds Health and Social Care Transformation Programme and the Leeds Integrated Health and Social Care programme.

Talking of finances at our most recent Governing Body workshop we looked at our financial plans for the coming year as well as working with public health colleagues to see how we can support the work they do with a particular focus on the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA). The JSNA will help us identify any gaps in services that we need to address to reduce some of the health inequalities affecting our communities.

Working in partnership is not just about looking at local and regional support but also seeing how we can help our national partners such as NHS England. At the recent Yorkshire and Humber Specialised Commissioning Group we discussed how we can ensure the smooth transition of four specialist treatments that fall under the specialised commissioning process. The exact four are still to be determined but it expected that we will take on this responsibility regionally from April 2015, subject to final confirmation from NHS England.

We have also expressed an interest in co-commissioning primary care services with NHS England. In the New Year we will be submitting a joint Leeds-wide proposal with our partner CCGs – NHS Leeds North and NHS Leeds South and East. Co-commissioning arrangements will give us increased flexibility to help us achieve our aims of shifting the focus of care from hospital-based settings to community and primary care settings.

My final work update is linked to my role on the national Safer Staffing Advisory Committee. We have written the final draft guidance on our recommendations for safe staffing levels for A&E and this will go out for wider consultation after Christmas.

Before I go I wanted to let you know that the generosity of people across the world never ceases to amaze me. My daughter is currently in Australia as part of her round the world trip (she will be spending Christmas enjoying a barbecue on a beach!) but before she arrived there was an issue with her visa. This meant she had to travel to New Zealand, luckily a friend of one of our relatives lives there. When she told me about the kindness of her hosts I was just amazed and it reminded me that, despite some of the scary media headlines, the world is a better place than we might think.

I’m hoping that the season of goodwill means that we can all pay extra attention and look out for those who are amongst the most vulnerable in our communities. If you have an elderly neighbour or know of someone who has been through a tough time maybe now’s a good time to drop by and see how they’re getting on. I also wanted to highlight the campaign to end loneliness project, we can all play a part:

Season’s greeting to all and I look forward to bringing you more updates in the New Year.


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