- We are facing some very significant challenges. These include widening health inequalities, rising demand, pressure on quality and safety, staffing shortages, the wellbeing of our colleagues, and funding. These are well documented and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We must address these challenges with urgency.
- We have seen that joining forces as equal partners can have huge benefits. Collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated what we can do together at scale to support our colleagues and patient care.
- Examples of collaboration in action can be found here.
- We have a great opportunity to build on this to make sure we support better health and care across the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria.
- By working collaboratively, we will be much more likely to achieve our vision than if we work alone. This is because we will be able to better:
o agree joint priorities and how to best join forces to deliver them
o learn from and support each other
o share skills and best practice
o pool resources to support fragile services
o provide flexible career paths across organisational boundaries
o standardise our approach across Lancashire and South Cumbria to reduce variation and duplication
o support the local economy and the environment to add social value.
National context: Enabler for working better together
- The way the NHS is organised in England has changed to remove legal and administrative barriers which got in the way of joined-up working.
- The Health and Care Act 2022 describes a ‘duty to collaborate’ which applies to all NHS organisations and local authorities. This is really helpful as it means it will be easier to progress with our plans.
- From July 2022 trusts providing acute and/or mental health/community services are expected to be part of one or more provider collaboratives.
- This means that our Provider Collaboration Board will be an increasingly important vehicle to help us deliver our ambitions.