The partnership that is leading the transformation of heath and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent has come together to reaffirm its commitment at a key milestone event.
Leaders and clinicians from organisations representing the Together We’re Better partnership met to focus on the work that has taken place over the previous 12 months as well as using the opportunity to share their emerging thinking on future plans.
Together We’re Better is the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It is made up of NHS and local government organisations that are working closely together to transform health and care for people living and working in the area. The two local Healthwatch also have a seat at the decision-making table.
Simon Whitehouse, Together We’re Better Director, reflected on the progress that has been made in across a number of key areas including:
- the prevention agenda,
- improving local primary and community care,
- increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of planned care,
- work to develop a simplified urgent and emergency care system,
- further improving local mental health services, and
- improving children, young peoples’ and maternity services.
He also highlighted the work that has taken place to strengthen leadership and accountability within the partnership. He went on to stress the importance of continued collaboration and recognised that there remained a significant amount of work still to do. At the event he took the opportunity to thank all health and care staff for the job that they do in looking after local people, often in challenging and difficult situations.
Dr Paul Roberts, Director of North Staffs GP Federation and a GP based in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, spoke about the progress in developing local, community based primary care – including the successful Meir Partnership Care Hub that has seen NHS, local authority, independent and primary care colleagues work more closely together to improve health and care services for the local community.
Together We’re Better’s Independent Chairman, Sir Neil McKay, shared some of the emerging thinking taking place within the partnership, including an ambition for swift progress to be delivered in a number of areas.
These include implementing a greater number of integrated care teams across the area. These would build on the work being done in places like Meir to bring together a range of physical and mental health services alongside social care professionals and the voluntary and community sector to enable a coordinated approach to improving population health.
Teams will provide care that:
- Help more people lead healthy, active lives
- Enable more people to remain independent for longer
- Reduce the need to attend or stay in hospital
- Reduce the length of time people spend in hospital
- Predict personal needs and plans care to prevent problems before they arise
- Make greater use of technology and home adaptations
- Support families and carers in their role
Other areas flagged by Sir Neil included attacking the causes of ill-health and health inequalities; having a greater ambition to improve primary care; improving mental health; developments in the county’s community hospitals; engaging and incentivising more voluntary and independent organisations to support in the delivery of improvements in care for people who are frail elderly; and the development of significant proposals regarding estates, workforce and exploiting technology, including digital.
Speaking after the forum, Simon said: “I was delighted to welcome leaders and clinicians from our partner organisations to this milestone event and to hear their continued commitment to improving health and care service locally.
“A lot of work has taken place over the past 12 months to build towards what will be a hugely important year of public conversations. The drive and determination of our partners to meet the challenges facing our health and care system has only grown stronger and together we can ensure that we provide services that better meet the needs of everyone living and working in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”