As the new year starts, it feels like an appropriate opportunity to welcome you to my first NELFT Talks blog post. I will be using the blog to share my thoughts and update you on key issues I am working on as Chair of NELFT. I am also very keen to seek your views on how we are performing in terms of delivering the best care by the best people and in our purpose to provide increasingly holistic care to those that depend on our services.
The new year provides an opportunity to reflect on the successes and challenges of the previous year as well as a chance to look ahead. I am proud of all our staff here at NELFT who have worked hard to maintain our CQC rating of ‘Good’, engaged in our Quality Improvement Programme to look at how we can deliver better services for the populations we serve and who consistently go above and beyond to support patients and their families. This has not been without challenge, we have faced difficult workforce issues in terms of recruitment – a challenge that is felt nationally across the NHS, as well as the need to constantly review how we spend taxpayers money as well as possible in delivering the best quality services we can to our local communities. These are all challenges we highlight in our latest NELFT Corporate Strategy and I appreciate the input of staff from across the Trust in the development and delivery of our strategic objectives. The progress we are making for patients is also reflected in the expansion of services, our financial sustainability, and critically in our staff engagement and diversity agendas. My sincere thanks to you all.
In terms of looking forward to the year ahead, it is timely that the NHS Long Term Plan was launched this week, setting out a vision for an integrated health and care service that consistently delivers high quality, innovative care for patients and uses resources wisely. I am pleased that here in NELFT we are already on the journey towards delivering on some of the big aims of the Long Term Plan. Collaboration in integrated care systems, working seamlessly across organisational boundaries for better patient outcomes and for best value against increased and yet still finite budgets, all are key themes we are already engaged in for the wider task ahead of us.
We are working in partnership with our NHS and social care partners, as well as our commissioners across the localities we cover to deliver integrated care for patients. In Barking, Havering and Redbridge, my appointment as Chair in common across NELFT and the acute Trust has enabled me to see first-hand where we are working in an integrated way for the benefit of patients, as well looking at areas we can improve. In two localities (Redbridge and Thurrock) we have joint adult health and social care leads appointed across NELFT and the local authorities. In Waltham Forest, we are working with both primary care and the acute trust to deliver improvements in urgent and emergency care for patients. And in Kent, we are working with commissioners and with partners, including education, to address the mental health needs of young people. These are a handful of examples where we are focused on working in collaboration to deliver better outcomes for patients. I know there are many more of these examples across NELFT and it heartens me that we focus on collaboration rather than competition, as highlighted in the NHS Long Term Plan.
The delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan will not be without challenges in relation to workforce, funding and implementing new ways of working. Here at NELFT, we are already looking at how we can address some of these challenges and it is good to know that our recently published corporate strategy is aligned to the vision in the Long Term Plan. Over the coming weeks and months, it is crucial that we engage in the work nationally and locally and I will endeavour to keep you up to speed with how we are contributing to the delivery of the Long Term Plan across NELFT. This really is an opportunity for us to lead the way.
I would like to finish by saying I do not underestimate the complexity of the environments in which we work and the challenges the NHS faces but I am heartened by the dedication and commitment of staff here at NELFT to delivering the best care possible and I know this will stand us in good stead into the future.