18 Jun 2019

Read the latest blog from Prof Sarah O'Brien, Clinical Accountable Officer at the CCG and Strategic Director of People's Services at St Helens Council - and hear about how St Helens is praised for its integration work, a 'good' rating for the organisation and celebrating a year of working together.

Welcome everyone to another of my regular blogs updating you on what has been happening across health and social care within St Helens Integrated People’s Services.  

I recently attended our IAF (Improvement and Assessment Framework) meeting.  This is where NHS England assesses the CCG against the key performance indicators that we have to meet, many of which are national targets, and includes a discussion around our financial position – something that has been difficult in the past.  The feedback this year from the regional team is that they intend to move us to a ‘strong’ good this year and our finances are now ‘green’ and we’re now just waiting for confirmation of this from NHS England nationally.  This puts us in a small number of CCGs in Cheshire and Merseyside that are ‘good’ so thank you to all our staff who contributed to this.   

I also attended a number of regional and national meetings around health and social care integration  - both in the Cheshire and Merseyside region – and also a closed round table in London.  The message from these was very clear that health and care integration is here to stay.  I presented our St Helens Cares journey to integration  at the national meeting and this work was fully endorsed by NHS leaders - we are certainly seen as a leading light in what we are doing here and how this will benefit residents of our borough.  

The St Helens People’s Board took place this week and I heard an update on the roll out of the Shared Care Record which is an integral part of our integration work.  Our partner health and care organisations are really getting to grips using this system now which is of real benefit to patients as it means they can see an up to date ‘whole’ picture of their patients meaning less duplication enabling them to make the best clinical decisions. I know, however, we can get more health and care staff making use of this system which I believe is transformational for both them and patients so we’ll be focusing on making sure our partners who can benefit from this are fully engaged over the coming months.  

Talking about integration and transformation, it’s been a year almost to the day since I took up the joint role as Strategic Director of People’s Services as well as Clinical Accountable Officer of the CCG and the CCG became part of the People’s Services Directorate at St Helens Council.  This isn’t an easy thing to do but I believe it’s the right thing to do to enable us to achieve better outcomes for our people and we’ve worked really hard to get here. 

The staff in People’s Services all came together at the Town Hall this week to celebrate this anniversary and used the occasion to showcase what they do in their area.  It was fantastic to see people’s pride in what they have achieved and it was beneficial for those attending to have the chance to learn more about the directorate they work in and what their colleagues do – and how it all fits together.  

Finally as part of this event, myself,  Sue Forster, Director of Public Health; Mike Palin, Chief Executive of the Council along with Cllr David Baines, the new Council leader; Cllr Anthony Burns and Cllr Sue Murphy all publicly signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge where we pledged to support the mental wellbeing of our staff and give them the support they need.  The pledge board was also signed by lots of our staff. It’s a really important step forward – it’s so important in the current climate and shows a real commitment by ourselves and our staff to support this issue across St Helens and know there is help out there from a number of different agencies that you can find information about here: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/mentalhealthsupport  

Till next time!   Sarah