This week’s leadership message comes from Ian Holmes, Director for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. 


Hello my name is Ian…

Happy New Year from all at West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership – we hope it’s good one for you personally and professionally.

As we head into 2019 I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of our Partnership’s ambitions and priorities for the coming year, and reflect on some of our achievements in 2018.   

Firstly, we await the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan and Social Care Green Paper.  

The Government announced a five-year funding settlement for the NHS in June 2018. This provides an additional £20.5billion a year in real terms by 2023/24. In response, the NHS has developed a Long Term Plan which we anticipate will be published soon. The launch of the Long Term Plan will most likely coincide with the publication of the Social Care Green Paper which sets out Government proposals to improve care and support for older people whilst tackling the challenge of an ageing population.  

We have high hopes for the Long Term Plan and the social care green paper. They are important documents and will set the context for much of our work in 2019.  

We will be producing a five-year strategy, in response to the plan, in the summer. This will be an opportunity to set longer term ambitions for priorities such as cancer, children’s services, integrated care for older people and tackling health inequalities. We will continue to work as partners in Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield to ensure everyone living across our area can get involved in shaping the future of the NHS.  

These two important publications make working alongside community organisations and communities extremely important. Our Partnership will continue to play an active role in bringing together health and social care organisations, at both a local and West Yorkshire and Harrogate level, so people have the best start in life with support to stay healthy and live longer - all part of our vision.

There is lots of good work taking place across our area, which provides a great platform for us to build from. These case studies provide some examples of the work we are doing and the difference it is making to people. We will also continue to tackle health inequalities whilst improving the lives of the poorest, the fastest. Working alongside housing, planners, and public health colleagues is therefore essential, especially if we want to work with communities so they are healthy and sustainable for years to come.

You may know that the Government has invested £11.5m to tackle loneliness. Some 126 projects have recently been chosen across England to receive this funding. The impact of loneliness on people of all ages lives is receiving a lot of attention and I believe rightly so. Our Partnership has invested £1m toward supporting voluntary and community organisations through our Harnessing the Power of Communities Programme. Community and voluntary partners have been allocated this additional resource through their partnership work with local councils and the Health and Wellbeing Boards to help tackle loneliness and social isolation.

More neighbourly interactions and education on how to support vulnerable neighbours in a community can also have a positive impact on issues associated with loneliness, reducing the possibility of dementia, heart disease and depression. Findings published in Age UK’s new report ‘All the lonely people: Loneliness amongst Older People’ (2018) show that, although the percentage of older people who are lonely has remained relatively constant, we have increasing numbers of older people and therefore more lonely older people. This could be a major public health concern because if loneliness is not addressed it can become chronic, seriously affecting people’s health and well-being. A recent Health Foundation report also highlighted how living alone can make older people 50% more likely to find themselves in A&E than those living with family. Pensioners living alone are also 25% more likely to develop a mental health condition. 

With all of this in mind we will be launching a Partnership campaign in the spring. We are asking people to look out for their neighbours and providing tips for the things you can do to help. This will need support from all partners, stakeholders (including politicians) and employees. I hope you will support this first Partnership-wide campaign. 

Whilst on the theme of funding, you may recall the recent announcement that people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will benefit from over £230million additional funding for three large schemes. The funding is part of the £963million of capital funding announced by Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, in December to boost health facilities across England. You can read more here about the three large schemes funded.  

Investment is essential to deliver the services we need, and we will continue throughout 2019 to bring additional much needed funding into West Yorkshire and Harrogate, wherever the opportunity arises. 

Our first Partnership Board meets in public in June. We have established this new Board to strengthen joint working arrangements between all organisations involved and most importantly to further improve health and care for the 2.6 million people living across the area. One of its first jobs will be to consider the five-year strategy. We will also be recruiting four public co-opted members onto the Board early this year. Having a public voice and representation at every level of our work is a key principle of the way we work.

There will be no change in the legal powers or duties of all organisations involved that are represented on the Board - put simply, the Board will oversee a closer and more collaborative way of working towards shared goals. The Board will meet four times a year and all meetings will be held in public.  

It would remiss of me not to mention the importance of workforce. We have recently launched a three-year recruitment drive to bring 110 international GPs to the local area and continue on our plans set out in our workforce plan to address the gaps in other areas of staffing, for example social care and the independent care sector. We will be taking a much closer look at how we support the independent care sector this year to ensure that this vital workforce is supported too – for example residential and home care services. Our workforce plan sets this out clearly. 

This is just a snap shot on some of the work we will be doing over the next few months. Partnership leaders will continue to keep you updated via the leadership blog on a weekly basis.

So I will end as I started – a very Happy New Year to you all. It’s a real privilege to do this job and the team and I look forward to working with you in 2019. 

Best wishes, Ian.


What’s happening next week?

  • The Shadow System Leadership Executive Group meets on Monday.
  • The Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups meets in pubic on Tuesday 8 January. You can watch the meeting live or read the meeting papers here
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Clinical Forum members meet on Tuesday. The forum is chaired by Dr Andy Withers.
  • The next meeting of West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Leadership Group also takes place on Tuesday. 
  • The mental health communication group meets on Friday.