Major step forward for health partnership

Working together for patients in west Essex…

The first meeting of the One Health and Care Partnership (OHCP) Board has taken place.

Members used the time to set out the main priorities to help improve health services across west Essex.

Happily, more of us are living longer but this, and a rapidly expanding population, means the demand on health and social care services is at an all-time high.

Despite this, a team of dedicated health professionals and voluntary carers from a host of organisations are ensuring everyone receives the care they need and deserve.

But, explains Peter Wightman, Managing Director of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), changes and improvements are needed - and these can be best achieved by everyone working together.

The OHCP brings together partners including Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Essex County Council, district councils and primary care from west Essex and north Hertfordshire for the benefit of those receiving healthcare across those areas.

Peter explained: “The One Health and Care Partnership’s aims are to work together and cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and allow services to move forward for the benefit of patients.

“This more personal style of care will not only mean fewer appointments, especially for patients on multiple pathways of treatment like the elderly or frail, it will greatly relieve the pressures on our hospitals.”

GP surgeries, pharmacies, hospital, community and social services are set to benefit, allowing more services closer to, or within, people’s homes and with consistent teams.

Peter added: “Our first Board meeting was a very positive experience.

“During the meeting we identified our main priorities moving forward and continue to build a culture of working as one team to develop and improve health services for everyone.”

The board will now focus on those priorities, including to:

  • help people live independent, healthy and longer lives
  • tackle health inequalities
  • improve mental health and the life chances of people with mental health Issues
  • improve services and outcomes for health and care
  • transform our resources together to achieve more for the community.

It is hoped this new approach will have a huge amount of benefits for patients such as reducing the number of appointments they may have and allowing more to be treated in their homes.

Dr Christine Moss, Chief Medical Officer of West Essex CCG, said she is excited by the opportunities ahead and can see the benefits already.

She added: “We have all experienced a very big change in health and care this year.

“All the work OHCP has been doing helping services work closer together has meant these changes have been easier to achieve.”

“As the OHCP, we will continue to push forward to provide care in ways that support easier access and safe care for all our residents.”

It will now work towards agreeing its plan for the next three to five years and develop a 10 year strategy.

It is hoped the partnership will work as a single team from April 2021.