This week’s update is sent from Ian Holmes, Director for West Yorkshire and Harrogate (WY&H) Health and Care Partnership.

Happy New Year 2018 - I hope you found some time to relax with family and friends, including those of you who worked over the festive season. The pressure on many of our colleagues has been intense and their commitment to go yet another extra mile has once again shone though. And as we start the New Year, the pressure on our health and care system and the challenges facing colleagues feels as challenging as ever.

You don’t need to look far to see evidence of this with the recent announcement by the National Emergency Pressures Panel, chaired by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, to activate the new NHS’s Winter Pressures Protocol, which includes extending the deferral of all non-urgent inpatient elective care to free up capacity for our sickest patients to January 31.

The pressure on the NHS cannot be seen in isolation of the work of social care. The stress on our council and community colleagues this time of year is equally as great as they too pull out the stops to cope with increasing demand for health and social care services to support older and vulnerable people across WY&H.

Regardless of what time of year we are in, keeping people safe and well has never been harder and the more plans we have in place to mitigate risk and work together as one health care system the better. This is where I believe our partnership adds value.

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 for 2018 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. Our initial proposals set out in 2016 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.

What this actually means is that:

  • 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

What I believe we will see in 2018 is the development of an even stronger partnership – one that involves an even stronger commitment to work more closely together, and one that sees our partnership working harder to involve more people in the development and design of existing and future health care services.

With this in mind, the System Leadership Executive has agreed to refresh and strengthen the partnership’s governance and accountability mechanisms and ways of working to support these ambitions, and to set them out in a single memorandum of understanding (MoU). This is being drafted in true co-production style and will be discussed next week at the leadership group meeting. The MoU will retain the ethos that the partnership is a servant of the people in West Yorkshire and Harrogate and its member organisations.

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 a stronger partnership in 2018 and beyond.

Have a good weekend


What else has been happening this week?

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) editorial group met on Wednesday.

In October 2017 the System Leadership Executive Group agreed that a new MoU should be developed to formalise working arrangements and support the next stage of development of the WY&H HCP. This MoU will build on the existing partnership arrangements. The MoU editorial group, which represents the various aspects of the partnership, met on Wednesday. It will also be discussed at the System Executive Leadership Group meeting on Tuesday.

What’s happening next week?

  • System Executive Leadership Group meets on Tuesday.
  • The Clinical Forum also meets on Tuesday.
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Committee for the 11 Clinical Commissioning Groups meet in public on the 9 January 2018. The agenda for 9 January and information from the previous meeting held in public in November are published here
  • The WY&H programme leads meet on Thursday.