United we stand

If there’s one thing the current storm clouds circling the health and care system have taught us, it has to be the power of unity. United as a system, united by a sense of purpose and united by the sheer will to make sure we can do the best for the people we care for.

We’ve been putting the finishing touches to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Leeds. The Leeds Health and Care Partnership Executive is in a position to support the submission of these proposals by the deadline. Our Leeds plan will fit into the wider West Yorkshire STP. I know lots of people want to see the STP and we’ll be sharing this widely once it has been signed off.

In Leeds we’ve also started working on an approach for the three CCGs called One Voice. Put simply, the way we commission services locally and across a larger West Yorkshire wide footprint is changing as well as the way we plan and fund services with local authorities. So this means we need to adapt and ensure we have similar approaches in place when planning and funding services.

The One Voice approach means we need to work collectively to make sense of what the future looks like across the city, across the region and nationally. I know many people are now feeling that there are lots of changes ahead and I can confirm this will be the case.

The change could mean people working in different teams, in different organisations or even in different types of roles. I can sense that people are approaching the changes with different levels of emotion from trepidation to excitement at the challenge ahead.

What I do know is that we have to ensure people across the system are involved in conversations and are supported throughout the coming months and years.

The chief executives/officers from the West Yorkshire CCGs recently met to talk about some of the initiatives we can run at a regional level. I’m pleased to let you know that we’ve agreed to establish a West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance that will help improve diagnosis and ultimately outcomes.

While not wanting to paint a picture of change and doom and gloom I think I might be about to! I attended a Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) conference where Jim Mackey, Chief Executive for NHS Improvement spoke about the changing outlook for healthcare finances.

The way money is drawn down in the system is about to change and this will affect future commissioning and provision of services. What I can say with confidence is that budgets will get ever tighter and we really do need to start looking at where long-term savings can be made.

So after dropping that bombshell I thought I’d let you know I’d also attended a meeting held by KPMG which gave me some light at the end of what appeared to be an ever darker tunnel.

They spoke about work they’d undertaken in New York where all service providers have been working together to deliver more effective health solutions and stem the rising costs of care. Although I can’t summarise this in a blog I can say that it has given us some good ideas as well as options about how savings can be released.

I’ve said at the start of this blog that united we stand and as the quote goes ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, with that in mind I know the answers to some of our tough questions lie with you. If you’ve got any ideas or suggestions that you think could help us face up to the financial and healthcare challenges facing us do get in touch.

On a personal front I’m pleased to have completed my coaching programme. Well I say completed but that’s not quite the case. I still have a 5,000 word assignment to write at masters level within the next three months.

At least we’ve got a quiet home which helps me with my concentration as our daughters have all moved out now. However it was nice to see one of them back but she’d organised a party and invited 14 of her friends. So although it was nice to see her I didn’t mind saying goodbye and having the peace and quiet again!

That’s all from me for now.


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