Archive for August, 2013

The Health Economy in Staffordshire

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Health issues regularly make the headlines and I have no doubt you’ll be aware of the current consultation on proposals by the Trust Special Administrators (TSA) on the future of Stafford and Cannock Hospitals, and I thought it might be useful to update you on what is emerging and how we are responding.

The County Council’s ambition is to provide the best quality of life for our residents covering a wide range of areas including jobs and economic growth, education, social care, and of course, health. Indeed back in April this year, we took on responsibility for public health and established the health and wellbeing board, so it has become an increasingly important part of our work. While we do not usually get involved with the inner workings of the NHS, we feel it’s important to take a robust stance on the future of both Stafford and Cannock Hospitals and the potential wider impact on health services across the county.

We have met with the TSA and made it clear that any model for health care must be sustainable, financially robust and absolutely  in the best interest of the people of  Staffordshire.

Our response as a county council involves maintaining a maternity provision in Stafford and the suggestion of  a new, more integrated delivery model for the local NHS, with a single acute trust for Staffordshire. This concept is an idea still being developed and shared with our partners, but the central part of it is recognising that the various reports into the NHS over recent years have raised the need for bold leadership and challenge to solve the systemic and cultural problems that those reports have raised.

Our input, I believe, is about the County Council acting as a responsible partner to develop and share a solution that  will improve outcomes for local people to create a healthier, happier and more prosperous Staffordshire.

A lot of work will be put into this agenda, and this is a great opportunity to show how we can lead and contribute to wider debates beyond the usual realms of local government. It is my hope that the future of Staffordshire’s NHS and public services will become a model for health and social care services and that we’re recognised for our contribution.

I will keep you posted as developments arise.

Creating a Connected Staffordshire where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Today has seen an important step in our journey towards achieving excellence for local people. Cabinet have approved plans to accelerate our work to become an excellent commissioning council, and our new vision to create a Connected Staffordshire, where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy.

Recent years have seen an unprecedented change in the way local government is resourced and run. Over the last four years, we’ve looked differently at how we can serve our communities best, within the resources available to us.

By focusing on commissioning for outcomes, our achievements have been significant. We’ve created:

  • Families First – bringing together services for children and families, integrating services at a local level and ensuring that those who most need our support have the right access to it.
  • The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust – the first and still largest of its kind in the UK, bringing together community based health and social care services locally, with a greater focus on improving people’s health and independence.
  • Entrust – the ground-breaking joint venture with Capita delivering support services to schools and beyond in an increasingly competitive market place, which has protected around 4,000 jobs and brought investment into Staffordshire.
  • The Powerhouse Central joint “City Deal” bid with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership which could create up to 28,000 jobs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent over the next 10 years.

Those achievements have come about through our One Council approach, partnership and our commitment to putting our residents first. By listening to their priorities, we’ve involved local people in shaping the way services are designed and managed, focusing on the things that matter most for them.

We have made great progress, and have changed our way of working to become focused on what really matters for Staffordshire’s people and communities. However, the challenges for our future are considerable, and will require a co-ordinated approach from all stakeholders to ensure that we continue to make a real difference.  Effective community leadership is at the heart of this, and is a cornerstone of our approach to “Achieving Excellence”. Through this approach, we will have a real impact on improving people’s lives.

I look to all of our partners and colleagues, across the public, private and third sectors, to work with us to make Staffordshire a place where people can access good jobs, be healthy and independent, and feel safe, happy and supported in and by their community. These truly are exciting times for our county.

Turning our vision into reality

Friday, August 9th, 2013

August is traditionally seen as the month of holidays, and the time to finally get round to clearing the inbox, but for many here in SCC its business as usual, and for many more – specifically the members of eight themed working groups set up as part of our Achieving Excellence Plan – it’s all go. They’ve been invited to participate in some energetic, creative thinking to encourage radical insight and new perspectives on:

  • Personal responsibility for health and happiness
  • High aspirations for better and healthier lives
  • People have and use their voice
  • Technology improves quality of life
  • More and better jobs, stronger enterprise
  • Excellent access to the things people want or need
  • Support for people when they need it most
  • Staffordshire is a great place to live

By understanding more about these areas, we’ll be even better equipped to meet our vision to create a connected Staffordshire where everyone can prosper, be healthy and happy.

I’m looking forward to hearing the initial recommendations to SLT on the 4 September – with the talent we have, I know there’ll be some interesting and challenging ideas presented.