March Governing Body meeting

March is a very busy time of year for us. The March Board meeting was no exception, we discussed some really important topics including our draft financial plans and draft operating plan for 2015/16.

Our new Head of Finance, Neil McDowell, gave a presentation on the finance plan which you can read here. We are in the process of signing this off but the national tariff has not been agreed yet. We will see the final version at our April Board meeting.

Our Directory of Strategy, Lucie Walters, presented the draft Operating Plan which sets out our strategy and work programmes for the year ahead. Our key priorities are:
• Doing core business well
• Transforming primary care
• Commissioning prevention and social care services
• Reducing health inequalities

We are putting together work programmes in mental health, children's services, older people's services, urgent care, planned care and others so we can address these priorities. Some examples of work we have included in this year’s operating plan includes expanding the in-school counselling service to 12 more primary schools, working with the voluntary sector to help support older people in the borough, developing a ‘frailty pathway’ working with St George’s and Wandsworth Council to reduce the number of older people admitted to hospital and a pilot programme to link social workers into GP practices to help with early support and preventative work.

Next we agreed the proposals for the mental health inpatient consultation which, as Lucie Walters stated, is a significant programme of work with investment over the next 10 years to improve mental health facilities for people in south west London. The consultation has been an important milestone but there is still a huge amount of work to do and we’ll be working with the mental health trust to continue to get feedback from patients and local residents. We’ll also work with Wandsworth Council and other local partners to make sure we address any issues that arise.

Dr Tom Coffey, as we all know a lifetime Tooting resident, said this was a once in a generation opportunity to revamp Springfield and mental health facilities for local people. Tom and Lucie gave us a clear presentation on the outcome of the consultation and talked us through the changes that have been made as a result of the feedback we got. Read more about the consultation here.

There were of course concerns from people living in Roehampton about in-patient mental health wards not being at Queen Mary’s anymore. Dr. Peter Ilves, the West Wandsworth GP lead, talked about his patients’ concerns. These wards will only close once the new facilities are open and community services will remain in Roehampton with a base at Queen Mary’s still. We are also going to be investing in Home Treatment Teams for Wandsworth residents to bring these up to the national guidance standards. We got praise from GPs and Healthwatch about how well the consultation was run and how much input people were able to give, which is reflected in the changes that have been made to the proposals.

Finally we also had discussions about our new arrangements to joint commission primary care with NHS England, the review of diabetes services, the 111 and out of hours procurement process and we signed off the conflicts of interest policy which will help us make sure that we manage any possible areas of concern. ​