Patricia Hewitt’s initial ambitions to boost progress within the STP appear to have been realised, with the partnership rated as “advanced” in a national assessment of its progress during the summer.
NHS Improvement awarded the rating in an assessment based on hospital performance, patient-focussed change and transformation. The rating means the health and social care system received capital funding, to be used to fund mental health beds in West Norfolk.
The partnership has stated grand aims to bring together local health and social care organisations, working together to ensure public health and care services can meet the growing demands predicted in the years ahead. Proposals shared last year focussed on preventing ill health, looking after people at home or in the community so that fewer need a hospital bed and making services more efficient.
Hewitt has paid tribute to the work and dedication of the team working on the STP, but has rightly acknowledged that much more needs to be done, including engaging more with communities and listening to their views.
The RCN believes this is at the heart of the STP process, not only to involve the communities who rely on health services but those, like the unions, who represent the staff who work within them.
We will be closely monitoring the process to ensure that as chair of the STP, Hewitt stays true to her promise to work with partners across health and social care if we are to see real benefits for everyone living in Norfolk and Waveney.
In August Antek Lejk was appointed as the executive lead for the STP, alongside his current positions as Chief Officer for South Norfolk and North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups.
For the past 20 years he has worked mostly within the NHS, including as chief executive of two NHS Trusts and a primary care trust.
We hope with this experience on board, the STP will move forward with a true understanding of the pressures on our NHS trusts and their staff. Patients cannot afford for whatever progress has been made so far to be lost.