Proud to be the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership

Since the creation of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership in March 2016, the way we work has been further strengthened by a shared commitment to deliver the best care and outcomes possible for the 2.6million people living across our area.

Our commitment remains the same and our goal is simple - we want everyone in West Yorkshire and Harrogate to have a great start in life, and to receive the support they need to stay healthy and live longer. We are committed to tackling health inequalities and to improving the lives of the poorest, the fastest.

The ambitious proposals set out in our plan (public summary here) are firming up into specific actions, backed by investment. This is being done with the help of our staff and communities, alongside their representatives, including Healthwatch, voluntary, community organisations and local councillors. Our bottom-up approach means that this is happening at both a local and WY&H level, putting people, not organisations, at the heart of everything we do.

This means

  • We are working to improve people’s health with and for them
  • We are working to improve people’s experience of health and care
  • We want to make every penny in the £ count so we offer best value to the taxpayer
  • It is our role to help keep people well and make life better for those we serve.

We believe wholeheartedly that there is a better way of working to achieve this. The terminology being used nationally such as ‘sustainability transformation partnerships (STPs)’ and, more recently, ‘accountable care systems/organisations’ can appear complex and concerning. Beneath the complexity is something simple – we want to be a partnership of organisations working locally, demonstrating to central government that we know what we are doing.

In return we require greater autonomy, more control over funds usually held centrally and more flexibility in the way we manage our partnership. Central government call this moving from being a “sustainability and transformation partnership” to becoming an “accountable care system.” We believe it gives us the best chance of developing sustainable health and care services.

Whatever title is given to the way we do business, this is about far more than just a name.

We want to further develop services to help people stay well, whilst delivering more care in the community, so together we free up specialist hospital care to concentrate on what only they can do.

We aim to strengthen community care in partnership with our communities, redesign services with and for people in a way that better meet their needs and improves the health and wellbeing of those we serve. And we want local organisations to work be responsible for the tough choices that need to be made to live within the resources available.

What we hope people will see over the coming months is evidence of the trust and collective leadership across our partnership so that together we can effectively support many more people in their homes, whilst reducing hospital demand and fully supporting GP practices and community services so they are able to become the first point of contact for health, no matter what time of day.

Considerable effort and commitment from many partners has helped us to get to this point and we are now in an even stronger position to move forward together as one health care system.

We have heard loud and clear that staff want ways of working that are easier for them, more local control and the authority to make decisions at local level with the additional funding to support plans at both a local place level and across our West Yorkshire and Harrogate priorities. In other words, the whole system working for the whole system with one budget.

There is absolutely no intention to move healthcare away from being entirely publicly funded.

You can find out more by watching the Kings Fund film or reading their article here. In January 2018, the Kings Fund also published a further report called Making Sense of Accountable Care Systems you can read this here.

Following our principles of openness and transparency we will be having conversations with partnership employees and stakeholders, including local people and their representatives i.e. MPs, councillors, members of the West Yorkshire Joint Health Overview Scrutiny Committee, local Health Overview Scrutiny Committees and Health and Wellbeing Boards. If all our partners agree, we will work towards achieving these added benefits in shadow form, potentially from April 2018, with added autonomy, capacity and resources within our control.