The NHS is a myriad of inter-dependent services, teams and professionals, all working in collaboration to the ambition of a healthier population via safe, quality care.
I have spoken of the need to acknowledge that we cannot work in isolation as an organisation that we must strive for joining up care for people, places and populations. If I am honest from the very grass roots of my career.
The publication of the NHSE/I white paper Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all indicated an accelerated case for change to ‘support the NHS recovery from the pandemic and to meet future challenges’. I feel exceptionally fortunate, albeit by long and deeply invested planning, that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has always invested in collaboration with our key and critical partners.
Aligning our services
Our ambitions for system working, to ultimately reduce inequalities to support our populations to live fuller, independent, healthier lives is the very thread through our entire organisation.
Back in 2018, our Trust made a move that was disruptive. It was a courageous change that would affect our way of working for the benefit of both our patients and our staff, forever. We created our ‘care groups’. Reflecting our objectives of delivering care that was mapped to where any given patient was on their health and care journey. Healthy Lives, Responsive Care and Collaborative Care were established.
It was important that we worked for Teesside, to ensure that there was a shared purpose and vision with every other ambition held for the region. If we are looking to strengthen our economy and employment markets, to enhance our education offer and much more, we need a population that is fit, without health burdens that limit a fuller life.
Our decision to align our services, and indeed decision making with the populations we serve at the front and centre, I am confident will see a shift in population health outcomes of the future.
We are exceptionally fortunate to benefit from working with ambitious local authorities, who are equally as passionate about their people, their communities and ensuring that ‘place’ is key to access for all. It is these well-established relationships – the integration and the innovation of which will support a healthier north east.
As the future of the NHS links so significantly to working together and championing integration, I am proud that North Tees and Hartlepool has focused less on a ‘duty’ to collaborate and more on a powerful movement for Teesside and the surrounding areas as our standard to do so.