Chief Officer’s Blog 22 October

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Establishing the new Integrated Care Board

Hello everyone, Sheena here!

Welcome to the weekend. I’ve no doubt that those of you who have now finished for the week, or might even be off on holiday for the half term, are more than ready for well-earned and well-deserved break. Enjoy it. If you are working (and even if you are not) I just want to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to you all – you are all doing an amazing job.

It seems incredible that 19 months after the first lockdown due to Covid-19, and despite a world-leading, successful vaccination programme, infection rates and hospitalisations are increasing. It is a stark reminder of the strength of this virus and the fact that it has not gone away.

It is really, really important we all continue to take every step possible to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our patients. The basic infection control measures – hands, face, space – are as important now as they were last March. I’d urge every single person reading this to continue to wear a mask or face covering in crowded places, in shops, on public transport, in busy workplaces. Wash your hands rigorously and regularly and use hand sanitiser. Maintain social distancing and keep rooms well ventilated. And, please share this message at every opportunity.

Our vaccination teams have done an amazing job and almost 4 million vaccines have been administered in Cheshire and Merseyside. However, there are still far too many people who have either not been vaccinated at all, or who have not taken up the opportunity for essential boosters.

Getting fully vaccinated could be the difference between life or death for you or a loved one. It is undoubtedly effective in lowering the severity of the disease should you catch it. I’ve heard that some of our workforce, as well as some of our residents, are more ambivalent towards the booster dose, in the belief that being double vaccinated is sufficient. Why take the chance? Health and care services across the board are already experiencing record pressures and we are bracing ourselves for a particularly difficult winter.

If you are due the booster, get it. If you are yet to be vaccinated at all or need your second dose, get it. And, importantly, if you are eligible for the flu jab, get it. Please, do the right thing and #LetsGetVaccinated.

 

Today, we have launched an engagement exercise on the constitution of our intended Integrated Care Board – the NHS body of the ICS. Whilst much of the constitution is prescribed nationally, we do have some choices to make about the size and membership of the Board and it is this we are engaging with stakeholders on and we are interested in their views. Our proposals include:

  • Up to six non-executive directors, including

Chair of the NHS body and up to five others covering Audit; Remuneration; Patient and Public Engagement; Conflict of Interest Guardian.

  • Four executive directors

Covering the nationally mandated roles of Chief Executive and Executive Medical Director, Executive Director of Nursing and Executive Director of Finance.

  • Two additional senior posts

Focusing on People/Workforce and Performance, Planning and Improvement.

  • Six partner members

There will be two representatives each from primary care, local authorities and NHS trusts

This would mean 17 members in total. Whilst national guidance states that an ICB would ideally have no more than 13 members, the rationale for a larger board in Cheshire and Merseyside is linked to the size and diversity of the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System.

In addition, the Board may invite specified individuals to be named participants and they would cover the voluntary, community and faith sector and public health colleagues.

We are asking for feedback by Friday 5 November via email to cm.partnership@nhs.net, including:

  • Name and organisation
  • Whether or not you agree with the proposals set out for the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board composition, including the fact our proposals suggest a Board larger than national guidelines
  • Any further comments you wish to make

Full details are on our website.

Finally, I’m really excited that, this week, we have launched our ‘We Are One’ staff hub to keep our workforce across the ICS informed and engaged on our development plans. However, our ‘We Are One’ strapline is not confined to our staff. It represents the fact barriers to integration – between NHS organisations; between the NHS and partners in local authorities and the voluntary, community and faith sector; and between individuals within all these places – are falling away. We are all here for a common purpose – to make a real difference to the lives of the people of Cheshire and Merseyside; we are all on the same side, whichever sector we are in; and we are all in the same team, whoever we are employed by or volunteer for. We Are One.

Until next time, stay safe.

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