This week’s update is sent from Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. Hello my name is Rob… Proud to be part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership

Taking stock is important. Communication is essential. We have been engaging in both and this week has seen activity ramp up as we strengthen our partnership further. We are in a process where every Chief Executive and Chief Officer lead of one of our programmes of work – such as cancer, prevention, mental health and urgent care - is presenting progress and next steps to a panel of their peers. This is demonstrating the significant work and progress we are making. It also demonstrates how collaboration is changing the way we lead our system together.

Perhaps the best way to understand this is to read ‘Our next steps for better health and care for everyone’, which describes the partnership’s work over the past 14 months and in particular how we want to progress with plans over the next year and beyond. The document and supporting information, which includes an animation, easy read version, audio and BSL film is available on our website at It’s a rich source of information and something that has been crafted through partnership alone.

In November 2016 we published draft high level proposals to improve health, reduce care variation and manage our finances. Since then 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. This is a priority to us all.

We have begun to deliver on a number of important areas, including supporting carers, improving cancer diagnosis and stroke prevention, suicide and mental health. You don’t need to look far to see evidence of the difference this is and will make over the coming months, for example £13million for a new young people and children’s mental health unit to keep them closer to home and their families when in crisis.

In support of NHS England’s National Maternity Review, we have created the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity System Board. This is a new programme of work for the partnership. The Board’s vision for maternity services is to improve safety for mum and baby, for services to be tailored for individual people, to improve choice and for care to be family friendly. Our plan has been co-produced with staff and communities. We are already receiving national recognition for the work Carol McKenna, Professor Suzanne Hinchliffe, Anne-Marie Henshaw and Karen Poole and other colleagues are doing.

Since our partnership came together we have brought in over £45m of additional national funding to support our transformation, such as cancer, and diabetes so we can move quickly on our priorities. And importantly we continue to have meaningful conversations and effective engagement with communities – both at a West Yorkshire and Harrogate level and in each of the six places that make up our partnership. This has been enhanced by much closer working arrangements with our local authorities.

Of course, we are deep into the most difficult time in the health and care system for a generation and we are facing unprecedented challenges with limited resources. Performance and finances are stressed in many NHS organisations, councils, community groups across the area. Staff and volunteers are working incredibly hard to deliver and improve care in the most trying of circumstances, to cope with increasing demand and to tackle the root cause of some of these issues – whether loneliness, poverty, poor housing or disjointed and complicated services. ‘Our next steps provides an update on how we are tackling these challenges and working to deliver sustainable services into the future.

We now believe that the best response to the challenges we face is to further strengthen our partnership. We need the autonomy and flexibility to build on the progress we have made as a partnership to realise our ambitions for those we collectively serve.

One way of securing the autonomy we need would be to participate in the Integrated Care System development programme announced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. We believe that becoming an ICS – essentially a more evolved version of our existing partnership - may give us the best chance of developing sustainable health and care services for West Yorkshire and Harrogate that improve people’s experience of health and care; makes every penny in the £ count and importantly keeps people well and makes life better for them.

Following our principles of openness and transparency we will continue conversations with all partners and stakeholders, and if all agree, we will work towards achieving these added benefits in shadow form, potentially later in 2018.

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. Part of strengthening our approach is the development of a MoU. This will be an agreement between the WY&H health and care partners, setting out the details of our commitment to work together in partnership to realise our shared ambitions. The MoU does not introduce new hierarchical arrangements. Rather, it builds on our current ways of working and will provide a new model of mutual accountability to underpin collective ownership of delivery. The MoU is at an early stage of development. We are discussing it with a range of partners and stakeholders with the aim of finalising it later in the spring.

One of our core values as a partnership is to be fully open and transparent with everyone about the changes taking place across the area, this is very important to us, and what I hope you will see is evidence of this in ‘Our next steps to better health and care for everyone’.

Have a good weekend


What else has been happening this week?

Local place planners meeting

Our local place planning leads met on Tuesday to discuss the development of the memorandum of understanding and the next steps for the partnership as outlined above.

The work of local Health and Wellbeing Boards was also discussed.

Working with North Yorkshire

Our WY&H Director Ian Holmes met with North Yorkshire colleagues to talk about the partnership’s experience around collaborative working.

What’s happening next week?

  • Interviews for the Elective Care and Standardisation of Policies Programme Director on Monday.
  • The Urgent and Emergency Care Programme Board will meet on Monday.
  • The check and confirm meetings continue next week and will include primary and community care and workforce planning.
  • The Standardisation of Policies group will meet on Tuesday.