16 Jul 2019

Prof Sarah O'Brien, Accountable Officer for the CCG and Strategic Director of People's Services, posts her latest blog.

Welcome everyone to another of my regular blogs to update you on what has been happening across health and social care within St Helens Integrated People’s Services.  

This week the CCG received confirmation that it had received an overall rating of ‘good’ from NHS England in the annual Improvement and Assessment Framework (IAF) performance ratings.  These ratings provide a benchmark for CCGs, so they we can compare ourselves to others and assess where we need to focus. 

There are four main areas that each CCG is measured against; Better Care, Better Health, Sustainability and Quality of Leadership.  St Helens CCG was successful in maintaining or improvement against a broad range of IAF indicators, achieving 11 indicators within the best performing quartile and achieving our 2018/19 break even control total. The Patient and Community Engagement indicator assesses how well CCGs involve the public in commissioning; ensuring effective patient and public participation in the development of plans to ensure services meet the needs of local communities and tackle health inequalities - we received a ‘green’ rating for this.  Further detail of how we performed will be uploaded to the MyNHS website by NHS England soon.

NHS England also confirmed that NHS directions for the CCG have been removed.  The removal of directions is evidence that NHS England is satisfied that the CCG has made sufficient progress and improvement in its financial governance.  This rating and removal of directions is testament to everyone’s hard work both in the CCG and our partners across the system.

The CCG held its governing body meeting last week and we heard a great presentation on social prescribing in St Helens.  Social prescribing is when someone who has a social rather than medical need is referred by a health professional to a link worker for help and support. It’s especially useful in general practice when often patients will book an appointment with a GP for a social need when quite often they are simply lonely or depressed and need a different sort of prescription.

So far the St Helens Cares project has been running for 8 months in 6 GP practices and has supported over 200 people of all ages - 66% of those referred are achieving their goals with some reporting substantial lifestyle changes.  Under the NHS Long Term Plan, the new Primary Care Networks will now be able to claim funding for at least one additional social prescribing link worker which means we can continue this work across more of St Helens and tackle underlying social/economic issues through the creation of a system of support in the local community.

The presentation can be seen in the board papers which are on our website: https://www.sthelensccg.nhs.uk/media/3118/gb-full-pack-part-i-100719.pdf

I also attended the ‘Rewrite the Stars’ celebration event for the children we look after last weekend which was the most amazing afternoon. As a council we’re responsible for around 500 children and young people and the event – which was planned and delivered by them, for them - was about celebrating each of them, their carers, and our staff.  It was great to see so many of our young people so invested in this and hear some inspiring stories from those who had been in care and what they have achieved since thanks to the support they had on the way.  It’s so important our looked after children can aspire to great things in their futures and that we help them on their way.

Looking forward to the rest of July, we have Council Cabinet coming up with a Council Modernisation briefing on the agenda for discussion (you can see the papers here http://moderngov.sthelens.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=193&MId=5886&Ver=4) and the People’s Board meeting will take place on 24th July where the priorities for the coming year will be set. 

As you can see, here’s lots going on even though it feels like the holiday period is almost upon us but we’re still working hard here.  Enjoy the good weather when you can and I’ll update you again before I go on my summer holidays

Sarah