From sprints to tiring climbs

As I get ready for my cycling challenge I realised my training regime reflects work in changing the Leeds health and care system to enable it to be in the best shape possible.

No matter what the future might hold, and whatever pressures the system is under, there’s some fundamentals we must always get right. One of those is our duty to ensure people in our city are safe from harm and abuse.

I recently met with Mark Peel, chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Board to discuss how our work around safeguarding could change over the coming year.  This is in direct response to Alan Wood’s review into the role that local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) play in protecting and safeguarding children.

We’ve had really positive conversations with NHS England agreeing areas where we can take joint responsibility for specialised commissioning. Specialised services are those provided in relatively few hospitals, accessed by comparatively small numbers of patients but with catchment populations of usually more than one million. One of the services we’ll be working on together is complex rehabilitation.

We want Leeds to be a centre of excellence in health and care. I’m delighted with the progress we’re making through the Leeds Academic Health Partnership including some innovative work we’ll be doing through Yorkshire Cancer Research. We’ve also moved closer to establishing a Leeds Academy for Health and Social Care.

In response to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP), members of the Leeds Health and Social Care Partnership met up to discuss how we progress the Leeds Plan. The key focus will be how we communicate and engage with all our stakeholders (anyone who has an interest in this work – which should ideally be everyone).

I attended one of our recent Locality Development Sessions which are attended by our member GP practices. We took the opportunity to ask members for ideas on how we can invest to save. We’ll be looking at the options presented to see where we can realistically progress with the ideas. I also attended the Council of Members meeting at NHS Leeds North CCG to find out more about how the CCG’s member GP practices have been transforming the way MSK services are offered.

And I’m delighted with news that we’ve signed a two year contract with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for a number of hospital-based services. I know that contract negotiations are not easy especially when they’re also pressured by external deadlines, well done to all involved.

Work continues on the One Voice agenda in Leeds. The three CCGs continue to move with plans that will ensure we collaborate more closely. As part of this we’re looking at establishing a leadership team. We’re also looking at an organisational development plan and this includes advice and support for staff such as coaching, resilience training and coping with change.

We’ve seen lots of media coverage about the state of the NHS and, dare I say it, lots of doom and gloom about the system pressures. I just wanted to take an opportunity to remind ourselves of the fantastic work that all staff are doing. I recently undertook a shift at Gledhow Wing and the nurses showed empathy and care for older patients on the ward. I don’t want the negative headlines detracting from the sterling effort NHS staff are making in the face of severe pressure.

Finally, some of you may have heard that I’ve decided to put my body through another challenge – this time I’ll be cycling from Vienna to Budapest. I’ve recently upped my training which is a mix of distance cycling to uphill climbs in Black Park near Skipton. They’re pretty steep climbs and if it had not been for charity I might be having second thoughts by now!

There’s a lot that’s been going on and I’d welcome your thoughts on what you’ve read here or anywhere else.


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