Chat from the Chair - October 2017

It is with sadness that we learnt of the passing away of Cllr Jim Maddan on 13 September.  Cllr Maddan had served on Wandsworth Council for 15 years, nine of these years as the cabinet member for adult care and health and as Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.  I had the pleasure of serving alongside Jim on the Wandsworth Health and Wellbeing Board and we had many chats.  I know Jim actively supported CCG initiatives, particularly our diabetes champions programme - a long-term condition he lived with.  He will be missed and I pass on my sincere condolences to his family.

The agenda for our Board meeting this month was tremendously varied and included a forward note on a committees in common meeting to be held in public on 16 November where we will pick up on the work being done in policies for Effective Commissioning Initiatives.  This has been an ongoing topic of conversation in our Board meetings and in November the committees in common will look to make some decisions which will determine how the work will be taken forward.  

Sarah Blow, Accountable Officer, talked us through an approach for making proposed constitutional changes to the CCG that would align us with the latest guidance from NHS England on conflicts of interest and also better enable ways of working across the South West London (SWL) Alliance of CCGs.  This generated much discussion and will be food for further thought as details are worked through.  It was good to hear that having been circulated amongst the GP member practices, there was agreement amongst members for the changes.  It is important that we maintain high standards and robust processes for all of our Board and committee work.  

A heart lifting and optimistic annual report was presented by the Battersea locality team.  Planning for and looking after the health needs of 100,000 patients, with a projected growth of 25% due to local developments, takes significant effort and creative thinking.  The team highlighted three initiatives that have worked well, these are: a parenting course, an alcohol course and the introduction of a patient welfare advice service, delivered by the Wandsworth Citizens Advice Bureau, that supports patients with their non-health related needs – for example, housing, debt and finances.  Our Board member for Public Health encouraged learnings from the work in Battersea to be shared across the Alliance.  

This is the usual time of the year when we start our commissioning intensions process.  Last year, we signed two-year contracts with our providers so the focus this year is about making sure providers are clear on our commissioning intensions and stay within our financial parameters.           

Following on from the Board’s desire to learn more about the Healthy London Partnership (HLP) and seek to understand the added value they could bring for the CCG, we heard an overview presentation from a member of the HLP team.  It was noted that their contribution to the health of Londoners is greatly seen and appreciated in primary care.  I for one have seen the invaluable contribution they make to my life as a practicing GP in Wandsworth.  We look forward to hearing from HLP again in the future.  

Dr Owen Carter, Cancer Clinical Reference Group Lead, then gave an informative presentation covering some of the facts and figures for how we are performing in health on cancer both nationally and within Wandsworth.  It is clear that cancer is a major health problem and Dr Carter’s visits to practices, education work and other activities do help to keep cancer in the forefront of our minds in practices.  There is much to do in this area and the Board gave their full support for this vital work.  

In our management reports, it was noted that there is currently a national consultation covering the prescription of some over-the-counter medicines to which an Alliance response is being coordinated.  It was also touched upon that staff at Merton and Wandsworth CCGs are going through a consultation process to re-structure teams to span both entities in a local delivery unit format.  This activity will also lead to some organisational development work to help shape and develop a new one team culture.  

The new community adult health service provider started on 1 October and a revised performance report format was praised for more clearly illustrating the amount of work St George’s trust is doing to improve its situation.  

This year will be a challenging year in many respects as new ways of working, new teams and financial matters press.  With the onset of winter in sight, there is a focus on promoting patient, staff and system winter health through preparedness and preventative methods such as having the flu vaccine.  Many people are entitled to a free flu vaccine, including home carers, and we will be joining in with the national campaign to promote uptake.  Locally, we will be particularly focused on 2-3 year olds receiving the flu vaccine – we all know how easily young children can fall ill, so we want to minimise this and reduce the risk of flu passing from person to person within the family or care settings.  

At the end of the Board meeting we all stopped to take a breath.  There is a huge amount of good, clinically based work being done, but there are equally huge tasks before us.  Working more closely together with other CCGs in south west London and our partners will help us to better tackle the big issues that span our boroughs.   

If you’d like to know more, you can read the Board papers on the CCG website