Integration is firmly on the leadership agenda for health and care systems in the West Midlands, between health, social care, public health and the wider community and voluntary sector, joining up our offer of services to the population – preventing illness, through to treatment and home again.

A few recent highlights for me include STPs over the last two years working to build partnerships between local government, providers and commissioners of health and care around a common vision for improving quality of care and outcomes for their population. STPs are all at different stages of maturity but my sense is that they are helping to build collaborative leadership.

The Better Care Fund focus on DTOC has enabled us to establish a Safe and Timely Discharge program board, which has common interest in developing, delivering and measuring high impact change. This group now feels able to expand and take on more.

On leadership we are supporting development – most recently NHSE/I, LGA have sponsored a chairs development network aimed at Health and Wellbeing Board Chairs, and Non Executive /Chairs of providers and commissioners in health- again with facilitation on the integration opportunities. Over the last few months I have worked closely with Martin, Ian, Clive, Jenny and particularly as the West Midlands ‘volunteered’ to pilot further work on integrated care system (ICS) development and leadership. We have developed a bid for health and care record integration, and will build on this further with Population Health Management functions in partnership with WMCA.

In the context of this range of initiatives, we felt that it would be good to engage on ‘what next’ with our colleagues in the Region, and see what the emerging themes.

I enjoyed the session in our Leadership Forum – the three areas of prevention, managing children's demand and facilitating discharge all stressed the importance of removing barriers to delivering care in the right place- more often than not – this ‘right care’ saves money and improves quality of care.

Since this session we have committed as a small leadership group to take the feedback from this session on board, and develop further the framework for regional joint working. It is feeling like a winning formula if we are able to combine some expert learning –together, some focused work on high impactful change that we jointly commission, and support leaders in delivering transformation through peer and action learning. The areas that we choose should be those that we are already working on – or where we have evidence of need, and only where there is added value. I am committed to supporting this next phase of work together as a team and am learning a huge amount from my colleagues on the journey.

Alison Tonge, NHS England

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