Dr Kathy McLean
Rachel December 20, 2021

Kathy’s Blog – end of year message

I am writing to you in mid-December – so given the speed at which events are progressing in the country’s response to the pandemic and in particular the Omicron variant I am hoping not to be left behind by any changes in circumstances by the time that you read this!

But one thing that is fixed is Christmas – like it or not, it is coming on 25th December and whilst I know that not everyone might celebrate this particular festival, I think it’s relevant to everyone in our City and County as a time for family, a time for rest and reflection and a time to think about the year ahead.  The health and social care system often feels like a family and this year (like last year) we have tested and strengthened those family bonds in our pandemic response and also in our preparation for next year’s legal and structural changes as we become a statutory Integrated Care System.

At the end of what has been quite a year, I want to say clearly and loudly that you all have my enormous and heartfelt thanks for all that you have done.  Whether you’ve worked in an acute setting in Worksop, as part of a community team in Mansfield, been involved in homecare in Nottingham or general practice in West Bridgford – and all points and all services inbetween – thank you.

There are too many specifics to be able to mention them all but I did just want to highlight a few real high points of our year together serving the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.  We saw the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 vaccination programme the other week and in our area the fact that we have delivered over 1.7m vaccinations is nothing short of extraordinary.  Recognition must go to the front-line colleagues who have been injecting but also to everyone else who has been involved in the operational and back-office support for what will go down as a national triumph.

During the last twelve months (to end of October) General Practice teams in our patch have carried out 4.9m appointments – 57% of them face-to-face and 51% of them the same day or the next day.  That’s 4.9m conversations, vaccinations, test results, consultations, diagnoses, prescriptions and reassurance.  General Practice has gone through a revolution in the last 18 months and I expect that this period of change will continue into 2022.  There is some exciting thinking being done locally about the future of General Practice which I am looking forward to seeing more of – but even in a world of change, the fact will remain that long-term patient relationships of General Practice will remain the bedrock of our health and care system.

The collaborative working between health and care in terms of supporting patients to leave hospital when it’s time to do so and return to their home or other care location has also been a highlight for me this year.  The care and professionalism of our social workers, discharge teams and community care teams is first rate.  And all delivered in a person-centred way – thank you.

During the various waves of the pandemic this year and despite the pressures on staffing due to self-isolation and sickness, as a system we have managed to remain focussed on delivering elective care and tackling the backlog of procedures.  As a system, thanks to our collective efforts to deliver the ‘Accelerator’ programme, an additional 24,768 patients were seen or diagnosed.  The additional equipment and learnings from this programme means that whilst we still have waiting lists to tackle, we are in a good place to go faster in 2022.

Please do have a read of our new-look ICS newsletter which has lots more to celebrate about what we’ve achieved and are up to: https://healthandcarenotts.co.uk/news-from-notts-ics-november-2021/ .

And going faster in 2022 is the second thing that I want to talk about in this update.  Due to a huge amount of hard work from a lot of colleagues from the CCG, NHS providers and Local Authorities, we are in a very good place going into 2022 to be ready for our establishment as a statutory ICS comprising of: an Integrated Care Board (ICB, the successor body to the CCG), an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP, the ‘guiding mind of the system’) and our four Place Based Partnerships (Bassetlaw, Mid Notts, South Notts and Nottingham City).  We now have a proposed membership of our ICB Board, a draft constitution for the ICB, some emerging clarity on how our committees and structures will work, a good plan for how we will work with people and communities to understand their thoughts on our health and care services – and so much more.

We know from feedback from the Regional NHSE/I team that our plans and progress so far are strong and that we have the building blocks in place to launch forward successfully in 2022 and specifically to be ready for the start of our new organisation and structures in April.  But there is still a fair bit  to do – not least confirming how our ICP will work.  As a joint committee between the ICB and the Local Authorities this is a critical part of our ICS and there are still some elements to be confirmed in terms of membership and chairing.  We will also need to firm up how the four Places will operate and interact with the ICB as well as the detail of the role of our Provider Collaborative.

Finally, I do want to wish you a very merry and happy Christmas break.  I know lots of people will be working hard on the vaccination programme as well as supporting our citizens with their other health and care needs but I truly hope everyone does get a chance to have a break.  Look after yourselves and your families and friends, keep safe from the new variant by following the guidance and the rules and I look forward to catching up with all of you in the new year.

You can see our system-wide video of thanks and festive wishes.

Best wishes,

Kathy McLean