Wheels keep spinning

My life after my holiday seems to involve lots of wheels spinning, from the hectic diary I’ve had through to my preparations for my charity bike ride.

Before I start my update I just wanted to say a very warm welcome to Jo Harding our new Director of Nursing and Quality. She’s only been here a couple of weeks but has integrated so well that it feels like she has been here for a long time!

The good news is that although things have been remarkably busy there’s been lots of cause for optimism especially around some of the collaborative work going on. The challenges facing the NHS are well documented so it is important that we build on the work we are doing to develop sustainable working relationships and partnerships.

Before I move on the optimism for the future I thought I’d add in some possible cause for concern. A national consultation is taking place on the NHS tariff payment system (the standardised costs for treatments undertaken by providers), the current proposals could have an unexpected impact on our budget for this year. While this is unwelcome we have to be prepared for such circumstances especially in the current financial climate.

I’ve recently attended the overview and scrutiny committee for West Yorkshire to update them on the work we are doing regionally to improve care for people with stroke and atrial fibrillation. It was reassuring to hear that members were supporting our approach and could see how we are working to make services sustainable for our patients across the patch.

I’m going to be following this up by attending a meeting with West Yorkshire provider and commissioner organisations and the Clinical Network. This is our opportunity to drive up standards and outcomes for all patients who have a stroke and make sure all our services are sustainable in the future.

A recent two day workshop in London, where I attended as the commissioning representative for West Yorkshire, gave me a chance to take part in discussions after submitting a bid for a vanguard project to support all the acute trusts working together in West Yorkshire focusing on how we can use technology to improve patients care. Vanguard sites are being set up to help pilot new models of care that have been outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

In West Yorkshire we are already a vanguard site for urgent and emergency care and plans are developing as to the key areas we need to focus on.

While I was in London I took an evening out to attend the Board meeting at the Foundation of Nursing Studies where I am a trustee. The meeting was set up to discuss the Foundation’s business plan for next year, focusing on how they can develop resources that will help support integrated working among community teams.

This links in nicely with work we are doing here in Leeds looking at the workforce of the future. In particular we have recently been looking at the skills mix needed in primary and community care teams. Our review has identified a need for a nursing recruitment drive across the whole of Leeds as well as developing new roles.

In the final update on meetings and workshops, I will be attending a session looking at lessons learnt from sites that have implemented co-commissioning of primary care. This links in with our wider primary care strategy. We are currently working with our member practices to see how they might be working in the future. This could include setting up federations of practices as well as how they could be providers of services.

As we are coming towards winter, although our summer has again been questionable weather-wise, we are preparing ourselves for the traditional increase in demand on our services. To help ensure we have enough capacity in the system we have been focusing our attentions on delayed transfers of care.

Delayed transfers of care usually involves patients who are medically fit to return home from hospital however their discharge has been delayed. Often the reason for this delay is that healthcare professionals need to assess their support needs for when they get home. Research and patient feedback tells us that most patients recover quicker when they are at home.

To reduce the impact of delayed transfer of care to the wider health system we are introducing new processes. Firstly we are piloting a discharge to assess project that will enable people to leave hospital as soon as they are medically fit to do so and their support need assessment will be undertaken at home. Secondly we are working with patients who have dementia to assess their care needs before they are discharged.

My final work-related update is to say that I’ll be catching up with all my statutory and mandatory training before I get named and shamed!

It’s not just wheels at work that have been turning; I’ve continued my preparation for my coast to coast cycling challenge. To help with this I will be doing a 45 mile ride this weekend just as I did last week and then I have one final training session before the actual ride later this month. Find out more and if you are feeling generous please do donate as I’m raising fund for St Gemma’s Hospice.

My next blog will be after my bike ride – if I can summon up the energy!


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