Hello my name is Rob and welcome to this week’s update

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an update on the next steps for our partnership following discussions with national bodies (NHS England and NHS Improvement ) and our own leadership team, which includes representatives from councils, hospitals, care providers, clinical commissioning groups and the voluntary andcommunity sector.

I often think the NHS is world class at inventing new acronyms…… So much so that the NHS Confederation has a very popular App that translates them all for you – you can download it for free here. The latest acronym to reach popular usage is the move to ‘Accountable care systems’, or ACS. Behind the acronym and strange, unfamiliar language is something quite simple. In practice, these are partnerships that are given flexibility and freedoms in return for taking responsibility for the delivery of high quality services now and in the future. They bring together some elements of regulation with Local Authority and NHS commissioning and provision. Nine areas, including South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, have so far been designated as an “ACS”, with more expected in the new year.

Our leadership team have discussed the benefits of greater autonomy and control over resources, including money, from national bodies that an ACS would bring to West Yorkshire and Harrogate (WY&H). We believe that this is a route we should consider taking.

As a network of leaders running the second biggest partnership in the country (2.6 million people, £5 billion budget), we feel we have the leadership needed as well as the opportunity to contribute significantly to this way of working. Moving to an ACS is the natural progression for our partnership. It sits with our ethos of being ambitious for the people we serve and demonstrates our commitment to improving health care together for everyone. It will also mean we receive a fair share of resources to deploy locally, rather than having to bid for money in small lots.

Our partnership is already showing significant change is possible through the creation of new arrangements for commissioning and new care providers. You can see examples of this in the work of the WY&H Joint Committee of the 11 Clinical Commissioning Groups, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Association of Acute Trusts, the way our mental health trusts and providers work and how we build new relationships with communities.

The role of local government in our plans has been vital from the beginning and all our local plans have strong local government leadership in place, for example the Health and Wellbeing Boards. This is an essential part of the way we work.

We have been successful in bidding for national funds on cancer and diabetes, and our VCS programme and unpaid carers work is rapidly moving at pace. Becoming an ACS will build on our strong partnership relationships and the foundations we are putting in place for better health care now and in the future.

WY&H is a large, diverse area that needs to be driven by local leaders with the right resources and degree of control. With this in mind, our WY&H programme directors came together this week to think about what this may look like in practice, and in particular how we can strengthen governance and build mutual accountability. We want a model that recognises we always build plans and delivery from the bottom up. This means more emphasis on standards, peer review and improvement and less emphasis on assertion or directive, top-down, performance management

Our ambition is to move to an ACS model from April next year. This is subject to all parties being content that the freedoms, flexibilities and resources match the requirements for delivery in our partnership plan.

An important part of the way we work will be an agreement (or Memorandum of Understanding - MOU) between partners and with national bodies. This will underpin the next phase of our development, setting out shared governance and accountability arrangements, and highlighting shared commitment to working together.

As we continue on our journey, we are building on strong foundations to strengthen our position and bring about better health, care and life chances for the people of West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Have a good weekend


What else has been happening this week?

Self-care week

This week is self-care week and lots of great working has been taking place across WY&H to demonstrate the positive difference this can make to people’s lives. You can also read this NHS England blog to find out more.

Local area planners

The six local area planners met on Tuesday. Colleagues gave an update on their local plans. Karen Poole (Local Maternity System Board Programme Lead) updated people on the Board’s vision for a maternity service based on the needs of women, their partner and their families. The work is all about developing a culture across maternity care which puts women and their babies at the centre of care, improves choice and personalisation, supports professionals working and learning together and has the safety of women and their babies throughout. This is not just about maternity care; it is about preparing for pregnancy – making sure people have the information and advice to make life choices before getting pregnant so women are in the best health before and after they give birth.

Social Partnership Forum

NHS Employers represents NHS organisations at the Social Partnership Forum (SPF), working in partnership with NHS trade unions, the Department of Health and NHS England etc. Rob attended the meeting on Tuesday to discuss the draft WY&H workforce plan which will be publically available in the New Year.

Head of Regional Health Partnerships

Interviews for Head of Regional Health Partnerships took place on Friday. The role is about strengthening the collaboration between the NHS and our local authorities. The creation of this joint post will help to reinforce that our partnership belongs to local government, the NHS, commissioners who buy health services, care providers, and communities. We will update you on who has been successful as soon as we can.

WY&H priority programme meeting

Our programme leads, including colleagues working on cancer, urgent care, maternity, met on Thursday to discuss the development of the Memorandum of Understanding. There was also an update on stroke care, the urgent emergency care delivery plan and winter pressures.

Public and patient involvement in our WY&H programmes

We are recruiting people to be part of the WY&H priority programmes to ensure we have an open and transparent process in all areas of work. They will help with our conversations around the patient, carer experience/journey. More information is available on our website here. Please contact jill.dufton@calderdaleccg.nhs.uk if you would like to know more.

Yorkshire Cancer Research’s first Life With Cancer event

Our Cancer Alliance was represented at Yorkshire Cancer Research’s first Life With Cancer event this week. It was an opportunity to talk to people about their personal experiences of life with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Speakers included Yorkshire TV Calendar presenter Christine Talbot, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012; Yorkshire Cancer Research Chief Executive Dr Kathryn Scott, and Sara Williamson, who has worked with the Alliance on sharing her story, which you can watch here. You can also read more about the event here.