West has talent

We recently held our staff awards and I must say I’m incredibly proud of the staff who work at NHS Leeds West CCG.

The awards demonstrated the sheer breadth and diversity of the work we do. For me what really stood out was the dedication and determination of staff to make a real difference to health and care. I want to thank every single member of staff at the CCG, your hard work has helped us achieve so much in such a short space of time.

Away from the excitement of the awards, work continues to transform the way we plan and fund (commission) and deliver health and care services. This work has so many different levels and complexities to it where we’re looking at what’s done at neighbourhood level, what’s done at citywide level and what’s done at a West Yorkshire wide level.

In West Yorkshire we’ve got a programme called Healthy Futures which brings together commissioners and providers at a regional level to see what services can be delivered more effectively by working together.

We’ve recently completed our memorandum of understanding and have identified a number of priority areas one of which is cancer. Following our most recent meeting I met up with Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer, to look at how we can develop our regional work. We’ve got a particular focus on prevention and an improved user experience for those who are diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones.

As you’ll be aware the future direction of the NHS is all about integration and not just within NHS services but also involving social care. I’m pleased with the buy in we’ve had from the chief executives of our local authorities which will help us implement some of the core changes we’re looking at within West Yorkshire.

In my last blog I spoke about how we’re working together on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Leeds and all the work I’ve described above feeds into this.  We’ve made great progress in developing the plan, which will be submitted to NHS England in June. The key word for us is that we need to ensure any changes we make are sustainable and are about delivering the best possible care for our patients.

To help with the STP we’ve got a Joint Leadership Group made up of senior staff from the three Leeds CCGs. One of the areas we’ve been looking at is specialised commissioning. As the West Yorkshire lead for specialised commissioning I’ve been heavily involved in preparing our plans for this as it will have an impact on our pooled resources.

Our CCG is one of the members of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board and I recently attended a workshop. The aim was to explore how we can deliver the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Leeds, which is currently being finalised, and ensuring it links in with the STP.

It’s important that we deliver sustainable services but it’s equally important that these are safe and meet core national standards. To monitor this all providers are inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). During a previous inspection Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) received a rating of ‘requires improvement’.

We’ve been working with LTHT to prepare for the follow up visit and inspection by CQC next week (16 May 2016). We’re also working with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust as they’ll be assessed by the CQC over the coming months.

Earlier on in my blog I spoke about how some of our transformational work is at a local level. We held the first meeting of our Primary Care Commissioning Committee chaired by Phillip Lewer (Chair for NHS Leeds South and East CCG). One of the topics was seven day access to primary care GP services. We’ve been running an extended access scheme covering our CCG and this animation captures the key points of the scheme. It’s 15 minutes long but well worth a watch.

I started my blog talking about reasons for being positive and I want to end in the same vein. I’m delighted to see that we’ve now launched the Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP). Leeds is a great city and one that has a rich history of success – in academia, in health and social care and in innovation. The LAHP is designed to build on this.

Some of you may have heard of the LAHP already, but for those who aren’t, it’s a partnership of the city’s six NHS organisations, three universities and Leeds City Council. The LAHP will use our combined assets to improve health and wellbeing, reduce health inequalities and create wealth by attracting more health innovation and investment into the city.

And I feel it’s time to say thanks again to our staff and colleagues at partner organisations whose work often goes unnoticed. We’re at that time of the year where we finalise and sign contracts with our providers. I’m really pleased that this difficult task is now complete. With the plans in place, now is the time for delivery.

Finally, on a personal level I was pleased to hear my daughter passed her driving test the week before her 18th birthday. But not so pleased, in fact filled with dread and panic, when I thought about her getting into a car on her own when her sister offered her the chance to drive.

Then I thought about how quick time can go, as she’s also preparing to move away as she begins her university course in September. As the last of my three daughters who was still at home with us, it’s made me realise how quiet the house will be and how much I’ll miss her.

On that note that’s it for now, but please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss any points raised in this blog.


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