To consider and agree the One Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Partnership Interim Integrated Care Strategy.
Under the Health and Care Act 2022, the Gloucestershire Integrated Care System was established as a legal entity as the One Gloucestershire Health & Wellbeing Partnership in July 2022. Amended by the Act (2022), a requirement of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act (2007) requires Integrated Care Partnerships to write an Integrated Care Strategy (‘the Strategy’), setting out the direction of how the Gloucestershire Integrated Care System and partner organisations, (NHS, social care, public health and other public, voluntary and community sector organisations), can work together to deliver more joined-up, preventative, and person-centred care, and ensure the people of Gloucestershire live happy and healthy lives.
Siobhan Farmer, Director of Public Health at Gloucestershire County Council, introduced the report by thanking everyone involved in the development of the strategy and for their contributions to this extensive piece of work. Siobhan clarified that, subject to formal agreement at today’s meeting, the strategy would set out the foundation for the partnership to continue its work and move forward.
Reflecting on the extensive engagement that has been undertaken in the past year, including invaluable contributions from both partners and wider stakeholders, it was confirmed that the strategy had taken into account all of the feedback, including the significant challenges presented to the Gloucestershire Integrated Care System at this time.
The strategy was referred to as a good starting point from which to move forward, but one that would, inevitably, evolve over time, taking into account any necessary changes in response to new and updated statutory guidance. Current guidance states that 2022 to 2023 will be a transition period during which the Interim Strategy will be refreshed as the work of the partnership develops and matures and in response to subsequent outcomes from public and/or stakeholder engagement activities.
Referring to the ambitions set out as 3 pillars of work within the strategy, (ambitions for the forthcoming 12 month and 5 year periods), and the 3 unifying themes of Employment, Smoking and Blood Pressure, it was explained that, whilst the themes had not necessarily been agreed by everyone, they were, however, areas of work that represented an agreed call for action. The next stage of progressing the strategy, therefore, building on from development meetings held on 20 October and 25 November 2022, would be how the partnership intended to commit to the work identified as the unifying themes.
Seeking comments from those in attendance at the meeting, Cllr Carole Allaway-Martin commended everyone for their invaluable contributions to developing the Strategy and advised that the real work would commence in the New Year. Any actions identified at development meetings held in October and November would be picked up and worked on at the first formal meeting of the Partnership in January. She stated that the strategy was an organic document and would inevitably look considerably different to that considered at today’s meeting.
Mary Hutton, Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, commended the strategy and welcomed the decision to reflect the direction of work as 1 and 3 year ambition periods. The next challenge would be how to achieve the ambitions going forward. Noting the intense pressures placed on the Integrated Care System in recent weeks, the Chief Executive stressed the importance of not only concentrating on current challenges, but also the need to focus on long term issues, including the need to address any inequalities within the system and the importance of providing reassurances to the people of Gloucestershire that they would receive necessary and appropriate care, when required. It was agreed that the work during the transition period would be crucial.
Gail Pasquall, partner representative from the Integrated Locality Partnership (Cheltenham), supported Mary’s comments, expressing specific concern about older and ethnic groups becoming increasingly anxious about personal health issues and the quality of care they received. Reflecting on the number of schemes available to provide support during the current period of economic uncertainty and challenge, Gail highlighted how many people were unaware of the help available to them and how important it was to seek out what really mattered to them, as individuals. Commending using a joined up approach to addressing inequalities, Gail also expressed an interest in the unifying theme of employment, with particular reference to recruitment and retention.
Matt Lennard, partner representative from the Voluntary Care Sector Alliance, expressed his appreciation for involving the VSCA in the development stages of the Strategy and said that this had made a huge difference. He added that, although the unifying themes were not entirely relevant to the VCSA, he acknowledged that the work to improve and address the issues was important. Siobhan Farmer, Director of Public Health, reassured members that, in addition to the work relating to the 3 unifying themes, a significant amount of other work would be addressed.
Having considered the comments made at the meeting, Cllr Carole Allaway-Martin sought the agreement of those present that the Interim Strategy be accepted.
A vote was taken and, with the unanimous agreement of all representatives at the meeting, the Interim Strategy was agreed for publication as the Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Partnership Strategy.