Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System Conference 2023

Courageous leadership call to action at first Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System conference

The first Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System conference took place on Tuesday 17 October with partners attending to explore how to strengthen our ICS using courageous leadership and shared ambitions to empower our health and wellbeing system.

About 120 delegates from across the four pillars of our ICS – NHS organisations, local authorities, VCSE organisations and some of our residents and communities – attended the inaugural conference at the King’s Centre in Norwich.

The aim of the event was to explore and better understand courageous leadership and how attendees as system leaders can enable better collaboration and more integrated ways of working.

As well as acknowledging the achievements and challenges facing the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system, the event aimed to build and strengthen relationships across our organisations and to understand what part we can all play in delivering our Integrated Care Strategy and in transforming people’s health, wellbeing, and care.

Bill Borrett, Chair of the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) for Norfolk and Waveney, and Cabinet Member of Public Health and Wellbeing at Norfolk County Council said:

“Our Integrated Care System is just over a year old now and we should all be proud of what has been achieved. The creation of the Integrated Care System (ICS) has meant a huge change in the way all those involved in Health and Social Care work together. This includes the setting up of partnerships to deliver a much more integrated approach to health and wellbeing at every level across Norfolk and Waveney, for the people who live and work here.

“We have succeeded in firmly establishing our Integrated Care Partnership as the body where all system partners come together to set the direction of our key work programmes and our aims and ambitions.

“During the year we have also developed our transitional “Integrated Care Strategy” which sets the direction of travel for Norfolk and Waveney, and the day was built around its four main themes.

“Change doesn’t start with someone else, or one organisation, it is for us all to work together as individuals and organisations to collectively achieve this.”

Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB), said:

“We all know from our personal experience, our friends and neighbours, and of course everything we read and see, just what tough times we live in and what tough times these are for everybody who needs care whether from social care, the NHS or voluntary organisations and tough as well for all our staff and volunteers. I just want to start by thanking everybody across Norfolk and Waveney.

“Despite the extraordinary headwinds we face, there is so much to celebrate. We’ve been in existence for only just over a year as a statutory integrated care system but we have been working for several years before that building this partnership and we can really see the results.”

Reflecting on a number of key NHS achievements over the past year, she said: “We had thousands of people waiting for more than 18 months for a diagnostic test or operation or procedure they badly needed. We have almost completely ended those long, long waits. We still have more to do, but the fact we managed to do that was down to real collaboration and partnership working between our three hospitals working together.

“In primary and community care our GPs and nurses continue to deliver more appointments now than before Covid hit and helped to deliver one of the most successful and rapidly rolled out vaccination programmes in the country.

“When we started working as a partnership even before Covid we set ourselves an ambition to reduce the number of people admitted to hospital as an emergency admission by ambulance and we succeeded far beyond what we expected by reducing emergency admissions by 10% and by reducing the number of people taken to hospital by ambulance even more than that.

“These are an important reminder that, despite the headlines, there’s a huge amount of wonderful care being delivered by the NHS every day of the week to help support people to lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

“The work that is going on to support mental and physical health is down to some fantastic partnerships between our organisations. Recognising that health is about the health each of us enjoys or hopes to enjoy is about so much more than the treatment that the NHS can provide, vital and lifesaving though that is.

“It’s about that wider partnership and that partnership for prevention at the heart of this partnership and the Integrated Care Strategy and the work going on in collaboration between our district councils and our two county councils, working with the NHS, the ICB and crucially voluntary sector partners – you are delivering extraordinary results in every community.

“As a partnership, we have a clear common purpose and we are committed to prevention.”

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, spoke about building a culture of courageous leadership across our system.

She said: “I want us all to think about courageous leadership. When was the last time you did something out of the ordinary? Think of a time that pushed you out of the comfort zone and took a risk, I would like you to feel like that a lot more often. We need to be talking about our ideas and saying, ‘what if?’ If we can take one thing away and start doing that, I think it will really serve our population.”

There were also presentations on the importance of prevention led by Stuart Lines, Director of Public Health at Norfolk County Council and Tracy Williams, Clinical Lead for Health Inequalities at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB and Norwich Place Board Chair. 

Emma Ratzer, MBE Chief Executive Officer at Access Community Trust and NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB Board member, spoke about the importance of enabling resilient communities. There were further presentations from Stephen James, Executive Director at Breckland District Council and Dr Olga Tsirogianni, Head of Integration and Partnerships for South Norfolk at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, who spoke about the Breckland Inspiring Communities programme which is supporting some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Dan Skipper, Chief Executive Officer at Age UK Norwich, spoke about the Later Life Providers Network, a new and exciting partnership of local organisations who predominantly provide services for people aged 50 plus within Norfolk and Waveney. The network, which is connected to the ICS VCSE Assembly, aims to promote the needs and experiences of later life, collaborate and co-design services and solutions, and share best practice, including the World Health Organisation Age Friendly Principles.

Mark Burgis, Executive Director of Patients and Communities at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, together with Nicole Rickard, Head of Communities at East Suffolk Council and Kate Price, Head of Health Integration and Communities at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, spoke about tackling health inequalities collaboratively in partnership and the Warm Homes initiative.

Sara Tough, Executive Director of Children Services at Norfolk County Council and Dan Mobbs, Chief Executive Officer at the Mancroft Advice Project, spoke about

how integration and collaborative working with children and young people is vital to creating shared ambitions and supporting children and young people to flourish.

There were a range of interactive sessions and activities throughout the conference led by facilitator David Cockayne, CEO of The Value Circle.

A video from the event can be found below.