We need to be brave and put prevention and improving the health and wellbeing of populations at the top of our agenda and engage with the civic power of local government in order to do so

Have you ever experienced the situation where you agree to do something months ago and then promptly forget about it until it comes up on the horizon? That’s just happened to me!

Last year I agreed to speak on NHS futures at a big Med Tech conference in Birmingham, which is taking place in a few days’ time. This has led me to thinking about how our NHS will evolve over the next 10 years.

The other thing on my mind just now is the imminent national guidance on the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, which provides the framework for what we will be doing across the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership this year.

So here goes with a few of my headline thoughts….

We are shaping our national strategies and therefore in turn our Humber, Coast and Vale strategies against the backdrop of  the so called ‘Quadruple aim’ – improving people’s health, improving the quality of care, achieving value and lower costs for the taxpayer, and the rather dry phrase: satisfying the needs of staff and patients. In simple terms this latter point means creating a positive and meaningful environment for our staff to thrive in and improving the experience and the outcomes of treatment and care for all our patients, clients, their families and carers.

Delivering on this requires a tectonic shift in the way we do things, the way we think about things and the way in which we commission and provide health and care services. This would be challenging in any walk of life, but in the NHS and in Social Care we are facing into a daunting future landscape where demand on our services is outstripping supply, where we are struggling to maintain our workforce in a number of areas and where there is an inexorable growth in the elderly frail population.

So what does the future hold and how should we tackle it?

  • We are moving away from the paradigm of the last two decades into a world that minimises competition and encourages integration, collaboration and partnership. Alongside this there needs to be a new deal with social care and with communities.
  • As I suggested in my first blog, we need to be brave and put prevention and improving the health and wellbeing of populations at the top of our agenda and engage with the civic power of local government in order to do so.
  • We need to empower patients and staff to influence, innovate co-design and co-produce clinical pathways alongside integrating services, organisations and systems particularly at local level to simplify access and improve experiences for local people.
  • We need to embrace the digital world and take advantage of automation and new technologies to transform our services and workforce and use this to enable out of hospital care and treatment wherever possible.
  • We are seeking to secure resources and capital investment that will help us to address longstanding estates issues and make the improvements we need to see in our hospital buildings and to develop our Mental Health, Cancer, Maternity and Children’s services.
  • We will have to learn how to operate effectively  in a post Brexit environment, especially in relation to immigration policies, workforce and research and development.
  • We have a fairly hefty carbon footprint so we need to take more responsibility for getting greener and contributing to tackling climate change.

Wherever you work in the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, these big picture changes will inevitably impact on you and the work you do. So please feel free to feedback, challenge or add your thoughts about the future of health and care in our region.

A particular highlight this week was our Health and Care Professionals Engagement Event, which took place on Wednesday (22nd January). Social workers, occupational therapists, doctors, midwives, nurses and hospital chaplains were amongst the professions represented at the event.

This was an important opportunity to develop our engagement plans so that, as a Partnership, we can ensure frontline professionals are involved in designing the future of health and care services and their ideas and experiences are valued and make a difference.

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