The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most significant challenges the NHS has faced in its history. The measures we have all endured have unequivocally been there to ‘protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens across the United Kingdom.’ We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our workforce and our residents for playing their part, from staff continuing to deliver excellent services to patients, people following self-isolation, social distance and infection control measures, through to those who have received your vaccinations and boosters when prompted. Almost two years since the first national lockdown, the government has published its latest response ‘Living with COVID-19’.
At the time of writing, we remain in a pandemic and because we are not able to fully predict the future of COVID-19, there remains a level of uncertainty about the continued effects of the disease on the NHS and wider public services. For this reason, we would encourage people to stay safe and help to protect the most vulnerable in our society. We also recognise there is much to do to continue the work to restore, recover and develop excellent local services.
Our annual report for 2021/22 provides us with the opportunity to share with you our most recent work and progress. Last year we were able to share details of the large scale COVID-19 vaccination programme. We reported that local health services such as GP practices, community and social care services, local authorities, the military and voluntary, community and faith sector and our patient groups had worked tirelessly together to implement the vaccination programme. This partnership way of working served us well when we were once again asked to mobilise the booster programme with the emergence of the Omicron variant from late 2021 through to early 2022.
Our staff have continued to work in new and innovative ways, working remotely or taking up other roles and changing priorities when required. The professionalism and commitment they have shown is highly commendable. Looking forwards and subject to Parliament agreeing the current Health and Care Bill, our teams will complete their preparations for the next steps in commissioning transformation with the creation of an NHS Integrated Care Board for Lancashire and South Cumbria. For this reason, many colleagues are already working collaboratively across Lancashire and South Cumbria for at least part of their roles.
NHS England and Improvement’s white paper Integrating care: Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England (February 2021) details how Integrated Care Systems, and the organisations within them, will work more effectively and more collaboratively in future. Working at system level has already demonstrated benefits locally, such as the response to COVID-19, the new hospitals programme and actions to improve the system’s financial position.
The Health and Care Bill includes a move towards a ‘system wide’ organisation with the eight CCGs across Lancashire and South Cumbria undertaking a process of closedown to support the creation of a statutory Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Lancashire and South Cumbria.
As the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board development gathers pace, so too does the emergence of our place-based partnership on the Fylde Coast. Much work had already taken place prior to the pandemic to shape some of our local priorities. Over the last year, the place-based partnership has taken a strategic approach, laying the foundations for future partnership arrangements. In the coming months we will build stability to the leadership at ‘place’ through the recruitment of a local director of health and care integration, identifying our governance arrangements and building the infrastructure to support this new way of working.
On the Fylde Coast it has long been recognised that there is a disparity in life expectancy between the most affluent areas and those areas which experience high levels of deprivation. On the Fylde Coast we are strongly committed to reducing health inequalities through our population health management approach, identifying those most vulnerable and targeting help and support to them when they need it.
Despite the challenges, these are also exciting times for the NHS. It only remains to again say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their fortitude in pulling together through the pandemic. Everyone on the Fylde Coast has contributed and will, we are sure, continue to support their friends, neighbours, and those around them in the future.
We wish everyone an optimistic and successful year ahead.
This annual report has been written with patients and the public in mind. Working within the requirements of the Department of Health’s annual report and accounts guidance we have attempted to make sure this document is:
- Easy to read and understand, and
- Visually appealing.
Thanks to the feedback received during preparation for last year’s annual report we will be repeating the new practices we put in place to make this report more accessible to all
As well as the printed version of the annual report and the usual downloadable annual report we will once again be making each section available as its own web page. This proved popular last year especially those who use ‘browsealoud’ technology for the visually impaired. We are happy that this valued audience can access our reports more easily.
Once again, we engaged with our various resident and patient groups, which are made up of members of the public who help to guide our work. This year, a draft of the content was shared with members of the CCG’s Influence Panel and representatives from each of the Patient Participation Groups that work within GP practices as well as the Patient and Public Engagement and Involvement forum (PPEI).
Some of the content of the report has been prepared for use by all CCGs within Lancashire and South Cumbria and some figures referenced in the performance report may represent this system wide approach. Likewise, some analysis may only be available as part of a Fylde Coast approach to joint working which we started two years ago. We have ensured all figures are properly explained and attributed to the correct area.
Due to the way accounts are presented we are not able to add them as text to the website. Please see the full downloadable PDF version for these.
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