Sue Symington smiling and the text 'As I see it - the latest blog from Sue Symington'

Working Together to Improve Care for Patients and Service Users

It is four weeks since our Integrated Care Board (ICB) became a statutory organisation.

It feels as if time is moving very quickly for all of us, and the ICS is very aware of the stresses and pressures in our system overall – in acute hospitals, in mental health services, in ambulance services and in social care. These stresses and pressures can prevent us delivering the services we want to deliver in the way we want to deliver them. Our ICS recognises that when this happens our patients and service users suffer, and so do staff, who are unable to ‘care’ in the way in which they want.

The purpose of the ICS is to bring together all partners in the delivery of services, to work together to improve the care of our patients and service users – over the next few weeks we will be seeking to establish our Integrated Care Partnerships where these shared issues and concerns will be our absolute focus.  


Developing my own knowledge of people and services and places remains a priority.

Recently, I was privileged to spend a day with the Community and Voluntary Sector in North Lincolnshire. As well as being made very welcome, I was given insights into the incredibly valuable work this sector undertakes to ‘glue together’ the work of our statutory services, providing caring interactions and kind listening, local focussed insights and practical help and support, often for those most in need. All of this was hugely inspiring and reminds me that our health and care community exists well beyond the boundaries of traditional health and care provision.

This week I had an equally fascinating day in York at Foss Park, an inpatient hospital for adults and older people. It provides mental health services for people living in the North Yorkshire area. Once again, I was deeply touched by the care provided to inpatients and the ambitions of the team to support and help inpatients to move forward, into a safe, sustainable future. I was also reminded of the very strong relationship between physical health and mental health, and our responsibility to ensure that these two aspects of our work are joined-up in our collective thinking, not treated as separate areas of care.

It is the work of the Integrated Care Board to recognise not only the great challenges our system faces and to seek to be part of ‘the solution’, but also to recognise the truly inspirational work taking place across our system each and every day.

Sue Symington

Chair of the NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and Chair of the Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Partnership