Update from the NHS Shropshire, Telford Wrekin Board Meeting
Our Board of Directors met at the end of November to discuss recent developments and plan for the difficult winter months ahead. The NHS frontline is always under considerable pressure over the winter period as demand for services tends to increase significantly with the onset of cold weather and flu. In recent years, Covid-19 has only exacerbated the difficulties faced by staff across the NHS, and Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin is no different.
At our Board meeting, we discussed ways to address the challenges posed by increased demand, a growing population in the area, and high staff turnover within the system. Despite the challenges, significant progress is being made across the patch. As part of our ongoing efforts, we have piloted novel models of delivery of care and explored new methods for recruiting and retaining our staff so that we can provide better services to the residents of Shropshire Telford and Wrekin. We are proud of the alliances we've forged with local authorities, providers and partners in the voluntary sector that empower us to better join up health and care services, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.
Moreover, we have made significant progress in developing our Integrated Care Strategy. Bringing together the various strands of work already in progress, this will provide a common vision for all partners to work towards. We are looking forward to sharing the strategy with the Integrated Care Partnership at their second meeting in January next year. We will work with various stakeholder groups to ensure the clinical voice is adequately represented in these discussions. We will also be working on a plan to bring our vision to life by March next year. The strategy will then guide our work on the people plan, long term plan, etc. We are currently striving to ensure the clinical and organisational leads play a huge role in developing our vision to enable us to deliver the highest quality care possible. To ensure that the strategy reflects the needs of the local population, over the coming months, we will work with local residents to ensure that the strategy is informed by their experiences.
We recognize that the urgent and emergency care teams are under significant pressure and are working to improve this - we are hoping to add more support teams, provide additional space, and beds to accommodate more people, which will hopefully lead to a higher flow of patients.
A continuous effort is being made to enhance the care we offer in primary care settings. Two challenges contribute to the current situation: the increasing demand for services and the shortage of skilled staff. Over the past few months, we have also been working with stakeholders to determine how we can make the most of the discharge funding made available by NHS England to find sustainable solutions.
While GP Access is a major issue across the UK, we hope to make considerable investments in the right hiring, remuneration and training of staff. This will ensure that Primary Care Networks can reduce the dependency on secondary care in the long run. We’re also working on an improvement plan for telephone access. We hope to make solid progress around telephone handling that will improve the overall patient experience. Clear communication will help GP surgeries build trust and transparency with residents and will lead to better performance overall.
To ensure all voices across the system are heard and to identify priority areas for clinical teams, we've instated a Clinical Senate. Eighty members across the system meet four times a year to focus on leadership and what it means in the current context. Our goal is to fully incorporate ideas that emerge from clinical voices to meet urgent challenges that face us every day.
Overall, it is a challenging time but the teams are working very hard so we can offer integrated clinical teams that make better use of our existing estates and resources, so that healthcare pathways can be delivered in a more seamless manner. Lastly, we’d like to acknowledge that It is the dedication and hard work of our wonderful staff that allows us to achieve anything we hope to accomplish over the next few years despite the challenging conditions we face.