In this blog post, originally published as the foreword of our 2017-18 annual review, Bristol Health Partners Chair Andrea Young reflects on the ups and downs of our partnership over the last year.
It’s been quite a year for Bristol Health Partners, with its ups and downs, including saying goodbye to David Relph, our Director for the last four years.
We have worked hard to align our activities with the programme of Healthier Together, our local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). It’s been heartening to discover how useful our local STP has found our work and see their interest in our Health Integration Teams (HITs). For example, the Stroke and Integrated Pain Management HITs are now integral to STP priority programmes, which have been accelerated thanks to the Bristol Health Partners HIT model.
All our HITs have just been through a rigorous exercise to strengthen their work streams, focusing on the projects that make an impact on patients, service users and members of the public, and can be embedded in the local system. It can be quite challenging to evidence what you’re doing and demonstrate whether it’s making a difference, and to possibly even stop doing things that you’re passionate about. I must thank the HITs for participating so openly and enthusiastically in this process.
Alongside the HITs, we have refined the system-wide work in Bristol Health Partners’ portfolio, to focus on making a strategic difference. We are focusing our efforts on creating a health data source inventory for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. This project really demonstrates what only Bristol Health Partners can do: leveraging the potential across a broad range of local organisations and making connections that individual institutions wouldn’t have been capable of alone. This work will really pay dividends in the future.
We were pleased to again have Bristol City Council as a full funding partner in 2017-18. We remain a unique partnership that joins the NHS, academic and local government together for the benefit of people in Bristol. The Council brings the essential voice of public health and social care to the table.
Contributions from some other partners have reduced, so there have been some difficult decisions to make. Against this backdrop, we have continued to prioritise the things that Bristol Health Partners does well. We should reflect on our achievements, including the £340,000 a year we know our HITs have saved the local health system, and the many millions they bring in funding each year – this year their contribution exceeded £4.5 million. This is all thanks to the connected research and delivery community that our partnership has created.
David Relph’s departure is a moment of sadness for everyone who has worked with him over the last four years. I want to pay tribute to his unstinting energy and enthusiasm, and his embodiment of all the best that Bristol Health Partners stands for. His leadership brought colour and life to the partnership.
He took us in a different direction, making Bristol Health Partners a more outward-facing organisation. During his tenure, there was a sea change in acknowledging and welcoming the contribution of patients and service users, while connecting with the voluntary sector and wider Bristol health community. He has created a much broader coalition, welcoming people in to create a strong network that we now need to sustain. David has laid down a challenge for the Board and the Executive Group, to maintain this welcoming and open ethos. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours and I’m sure we’ll see him again.
David leaves a strong legacy behind. The Board are in the process of signing a new partnership agreement, which secures Bristol Health Partners for the next 18 months and potentially to 2021. And for the core team, who have so much potential, David’s departure is an opportunity for them to shine. Alongside David Wynick and led by Lisa King in her new role as Chief Operating Officer, I for one am excited to see where they will take the partnership in the next year.