Chief Officer’s Blog 12 November 2021

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Hello everyone, Sheena here!

You have probably heard by now that yesterday, we announced the appointment of Graham Urwin as Designate Chief Executive of the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board, following a robust, national recruitment process.  This is fantastic news for Cheshire and Merseyside – Graham is well known and well respected here – and a significant step in the ongoing development of our ICS. I’m looking forward to working with Graham over the coming weeks on an effective handover before I return to my substantive position as Chief Executive of Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here though; it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work with amazing colleagues throughout the Partnership on creating the best conditions for the Partnership to achieve its ambitions. There is real common purpose here and focus on reducing health inequalities and ensuring we improve the lives of the poorest, fastest.

Establishing the leadership team at the Partnership is a priority and we are currently advertising for non-executive directors to join the ICB.  There is a lot of non-executive talent already in our system and I hope that some will apply to ensure we retain that local knowledge and skill. If you are interested – and I hope you are – you can find details on our website.

Recruitment to the remaining three statutory executive positions (Medical Director, Director of Nursing and Finance Director) will begin soon, followed by other senior roles – including the crucial Place leadership positions. Watch this space!

Our engagement exercise to seek your feedback on the proposals for the constitution of the Integrated Care Board is now closed and I’m really pleased with both the quantity and quality of the feedback we’ve had. We are now analysing those responses and considering the comments and suggestions made before finalising our proposals.  We will be reporting back separately on this and on our final submissions to NHS England.

It was Armistice Day yesterday (11th November) and as well as remembering service personnel who so bravely made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and fellow citizens, we also reflect on the lives of NHS and care staff who have also fallen. Many of our staff are reservists and give their time – and sometimes their lives – in supporting the military. Of course, we also reflect on the lives of colleagues who have died in service simply doing their jobs and caring for others.  We will remember them.

This week the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that Covid vaccination will be compulsory for front line NHS staff and volunteers who have face to face contact with patients and service users, unless they are exempt. The rationale is that some seriously ill people, those with disabilities and the elderly are at higher risk from Covid than others, and they are more likely to use health and care services more often and must be protected. Over 90% of staff nationally are already fully vaccinated. Further information and support is expected shortly. We know that our staff – all of them – care deeply about patient safety (whether or not they are vaccinated) and we will work with them on how these plans will be implemented.

It is true that vaccination is the best way out of the Covid pandemic, and I’m pleased to see the vaccination programme continue, and rates of infection fall. Children aged 12-15 will now be able access walk in vaccination centres in some areas, and the number of sites available to them will increase as we progress. As ever – hands, face, space, ventilation – remains a vital element in infection prevention so please continue to observe, and spread, this message.

Finally, we held our bi-monthly Partnership Board meeting on Tuesday and we will be publishing a summary of the discussions next week. It was a great meeting and the highlight was an excellent presentation on the ICS Children and Young People’s Programme. It is clear that if we are to effectively tackle health inequalities on a long term, sustained basis, then we must do more to address health inequalities in children now.  We heard that a child’s in-patient admission can cost around £75,000 and a child’s mental health admission as much as £750,000.  Whatever the costs in this area, they will lead to a saving. The goal is healthy children, who grow into healthy adults, become healthy parents, who then have healthy children. Simples? Not quite – but I’m glad we’ve got an amazing team leading this work. You can read more in our summary next week.

So, thank you to everyone who works so hard to continue providing great care to our patients, service users and citizens. Enjoy the weekend, especially if you are off, and if not, know that your efforts are very much appreciated.

Until next time…

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