[Dr Helen Hibbs, Wolverhampton CCG, David Loughton, Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust and Linda Sanders, Strategic Director - People, to present report]
Dr Helen Hibbs, Chief Officer, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), David Loughton, Chief Executive, Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust and Linda Sanders, Strategic Director – People presented the report.
The Strategic Director – People introduced the item and referred to the work already undertaken by the Transition Board and its evolvement into a Systems Development Board. She referred to the anticipated announcement by the Head of NHS England, Simon Stevens on Friday, 31 March, outlining future proposals for the health service and the implications that might have for Wolverhampton and the wider Black Country. She expected that there would be a renewed commitment to Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), moving into a new phase with the appointment of a System Leader for the Black Country to drive change. Work was already ongoing with the Chief Officer and Chief Executive to ensure that local residents continued to receive the best service possible. It was vital that the service remained cohesive and resilient.
The Chief Officer referred to the ongoing attempts to reorganise the NHS and the difficulties ahead. Discussions locally had taken place looking at a place-based model of care to tie into the wider Black Country model. Information relating to the new System Leader post continued to change and it was unclear if an incumbent would take the post. A joint committee comprising the four Black Country CCGs had held its initial meeting and established several Task and Finish Panels.
The Chief Executive referred to the forthcoming great structural changes required to achieve the targeted reductions of £900 million. During this period of considerable change there was a great opportunity for Wolverhampton to take the lead, with so many significant changes taking place just outside Wolverhampton.
The Service Director – Public Health and Wellbeing referred to the uncertain future and the importance of regular dialogue as issues emerged to ensure that appropriate time was given to understand and support the development of the system for local people.
The Board was concerned about acute hospital bed provision in the region and sought assurance regarding its future.
Steven Marshall, Director of Strategy and Transformation, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group stated that although significant savings would have to be made and there was a great deal of speculation, there was no plan in place for hospital closures in the area.
The Chief Officer confirmed that as part of the STP there would be increased community care and to allow that, resources would need to be released from acute hospital beds. There would need to be economies, different working practices, and early intervention to allow that to happen.
Jeremy Vanes, Chair, Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust stated that the Trust Board had spent time trying to prepare for future changes. The emphasis would be on sustaining health improvements rather than structure and although any changes would be orchestrated nationally, it would have to be delivered locally.
The Strategic Director – People referred to a press statement which had been drafted and asked the Board for guidance regarding a release date.
The Board acknowledged that until an announcement had been made, hopefully on Friday there would be many unanswered questions and until that announcement was made, it would be advisable to wait to make any announcements or release a press statement.
Resolved: The Board noted the issues connected to the development of care and health systems in the City of Wolverhampton in the light of the update on the next steps for the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Plan.