As the Together We’re Better partnership prepares to enter a new chapter in its journey of local health and care transformation, the clinician’s and health and social care professional’s voice, as well as the patient’s and service user voice, is more important than ever.
It is often said that staff are an organisation’s greatest asset and this is certainly true when it comes to the thousands of professionals working in health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
While it’s crucial their views are expressed during Together We’re Better’s next phase of engagement taking place in July, it’s equally important that clinicians and health and social care professionals continue to play a leading role in determining how that transformation is being delivered. We are all have a common interest in ensuring the solutions we develop together are providing the best possible health and care outcomes for our population.
Within Together We’re Better, Dr John James and Roger Wade are working hard to identify and empower clinical and health and social care leaders in their role as Medical Director for Primary Care and Secondary Care respectively.
In a relatively short space of time, John and Roger have made a big difference in bringing a range of GPs, consultants and other health and social care professionals to the table.
“I have lots of conversations with existing and potential leaders to encourage and support them to ensure the clinical and allied professional voice is as loud as possible,” said John. “The situation is improving although more work is needed to get to where I’d like it to be.
“There are a lot of GPs involved in leadership roles, either at their own practice level or across a small footprint of several practices. There are also a good number at the locality level. However, as you move to the larger geographical areas that number diminishes – it’s important, therefore that we encourage GP, secondary care leaders and other health and social care professionals who work at the different levels to work with us.”
Roger agreed: “As we move into the delivery phase of Together We’re Better, the hope is that more health and social care professionals will step up and assert their leadership and influence.
“I think the fact we have a primary care and secondary care Medical Director works particularly well. We work well together and are opening more doors.”
Among the positive changes brought about over the past six months include the introduction of a Medical Directors’ forum, made up of medical directors and clinical commissioning group chairs from across the Together We’re Better patch.
Roger said: “It’s a confidential, supportive meeting. It’s the first time we’ve had a group at this level and it’s already proving beneficial.”
The Clinical Leaders Group has also been reinvigorated. John said: “It’s become much more dynamic, with the various Together We’re Better programmes wishing to present and receive advice and guidance. The group is being used as a forum for testing ideas and supporting good practice throughout the partnership.”
Whilst there has been a lot of progress, John and Roger are keen for existing clinicians and health and social care professionals involved in the partnership to become an even greater part of the programmes they work on.
“There is a lot of groundswell there, so it’s going in the right direction,” said John. “Our clinicians and health and social care professionals are a fabulous resource who I think can make a genuine difference to the way the system works.”