With the colder weather well and truly upon us and as we gear up to the winter period, we do expect demand for health and care services to increase over the coming months. This is a thank you in anticipation for all that you will personally do to keep people safe during this time.
In preparation for winter, we have launched our Warm and Well campaign which aims to support people in Norfolk and Waveney to keep warm and well.
We’re signposting local people to information and services to help improve their health outcomes and reduce the pressure on health and care services. Themes include choosing the right health service, vaccinations, hardship support, mental health, winter wellness and resilience and prevention.
I’m proud to say that this campaign has been developed jointly by ICS partners and many organisations are already supporting it – please do look out for the messages and share these as much as you can.
Speaking of launches, we’ve also launched Right Care NoW, which is a new programme to help improve the way people are discharged from hospital back into the community. It aims to streamline the discharge process, reducing the length of time people stay in hospital, decreasing their need to be readmitted and improving their overall experience.
Through transforming discharge, the ambition is to reduce the number of beds occupied in our local acute hospitals to 92% or fewer. This will give hospitals more capacity to care for people arriving at hospital, people awaiting elective care and will provide resilience to the health and care system.
By reducing hospital stays and investing in home care and reablement, our system can create a more sustainable way of working and less reliance on surge or escalation beds. The ICB is engaging with system partners to ensure a balanced approach to Right Care NoW, while meeting the needs of our community.
The ICS Quality Strategy is progressing well and our implementation plan is going to the Board for agreement in January 2024. This focusses on the delivery of quality by developing our local system in line with national guidelines, setting out our 2024 objectives and metrics for measuring impact, outcomes and success.
We will continue to work closely with all our ICS partners, including Healthwatch, to offer opportunities for a diverse range of voices to be heard and to use patient, carer, and community feedback to improve care.
We also recently published our sixth Learning from Lives and Deaths – People with a Learning Disability and People with Autism Annual Report. We are committed to ensuring that local people living with learning disabilities and/or autism live well, and our work must be informed by this report, using lived experiences to help identify opportunities to improve services and support.
The report evidences the importance of Learning Disability Healthchecks and I would ask you all to ensure that you champion these checks to any person who is entitled and/or their carers.
Our focus for the year ahead will be on using the report insights to improve the quality of care offered, working collaboratively to deliver better oversight and monitoring of placements and training for staff. You can find the full report, including an Easy Read version and animated video summarising the report on the ICS website.
This month Dame Ruth May hosted the Chief Nursing Officer two-day summit in London. It was an important event heralding some new national initiatives which will be adopted locally and I will keep you updated around these in future blogs. It will come as no surprise that the event focused on the importance of the patient voice and how a variety of nursing roles, in both health and social care, can influence patient outcomes.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the Suffolk SEND inspections earlier this month. Our working relationships with families, carer networks, VCSE colleagues and wider Suffolk partnerships and the experiences of families and colleagues across our sites were shared.
We were able to shine a light on innovations such as our Professional therapeutic pathway, Better Sleep Programme and occupational therapy. The accessible vaccine clinic, our transforming care agenda including our award-winning Navigator team who support our children, young people and young adults up to 25 years of age were also showcased.
We look forward to using feedback as an opportunity for further service transformation.
Executive Director of Nursing
NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System