Photo of Dr Kathy McLean
juliecuthbert May 13, 2024

Kathy’s blog: lifting our gaze

‘Every person enjoying their best possible health and wellbeing’ is our shared ambition for people who live in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

A year ago we launched our Integrated Care Strategy, which describes what we will do to achieve this ambition over the next few years. We have been reviewing and updating our strategy, which is a timely reminder that our success as partners in an Integrated Care System hinges not only on day-to-day improvement in the delivery of health and care but also on our ability to lift our gaze towards strategic planning and transformation.

We know there are a range of important operational issues that are taking up so much of everyone’s time, such as improving the timeliness of pathways for urgent and emergency care, reducing the number of people waiting for treatments, surgery or cancer or improving access to general practice. These things are critical for our patients but are insufficient by themselves. We need to carve out time to think beyond the daily work, so that we can support changes which will help people to be well physically and mentally. By working together across all our partners, at local neighbourhoods and across the wider system we have the opportunity to be bold and make transformative changes that will not only improve patient outcomes but also bolster the resilience and sustainability of our health and care system as a whole.

We need to keep in mind our joint vision for health and well-being. Our Integrated Care Strategy sets this out with the key principles of prevention, integration and equity.  

Our Strategy becomes the guiding light in dark times, meaning we can tackle tactical issues in a strategic manner and focus on the bigger picture rather than only on the immediate issues in front of us.

One of our real strengths as a system is our joint work on data and analytics and we will shortly be able to measure the impact of our Strategy in a granular way to help us track progress.   

The responsibility sits with all of us to make a difference and to find the time to make those small, incremental moves towards a more equitable, integrated and preventative health and care system. There are lots of ways that you can be part of this change – whether it was through joining in the conversation at our ICS Partners Assembly, or through making a nomination to our Health and Care Awards or by taking the time to read and digest the Integrated Care Strategy. 

But really, the change starts with all of us, every day.  What questions can you ask about how our services are arranged and delivered that will make them more efficient and effective? How can you be part of the positive challenge to think about how your part of the health and care system links with the other parts?

Our ultimate goal is not merely to manage illness but to promote health and wellbeing in its fullest sense, supporting our communities to enjoy the best possible health and wellbeing. You can be, and in fact must be, part of delivering that, no matter how hard it seems to find the time. 

Dr Kathy McLean

Chair of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership