In this blog post, originally published as the foreword of our 2016-17 annual review, Bristol Health Partners Chair Andrea Young reflects on the partnership's achievements over the last year, and what the future holds. This is part of a series of blogs, where key players in Bristol's health sector write about a health related subject of their choice. If you want to contribute, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been an interesting and challenging year for Bristol Health Partners, its partner organisations and our Health Integration Teams (HITs).
A new partnership agreement is in the pipeline as the original, which has governed Bristol Health Partners for the last five years, draws to a close in 2017. So the Board is reflecting on the many achievements of the partnership. In the last year alone, our Health Integration Teams have attracted more than £4.8 million in funding, for research, evaluation and new services. They have also been responsible for £340,000 of savings in our two local NHS trusts during 2016-17.
These are impressive results and I think the partnership, and the HITs themselves, can be very proud of what they’ve achieved.
With NIHR CLAHRC West, we have evaluated the Health Integration Team model, a unique and pioneering way of looking at health and care, which other cities view with envy. But one of the most telling findings was that HIT Directors often struggle to affect change in the complex health and care system.
We have worked hard to align our HITs, and the partnership itself, with the priorities emerging from the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). We have selected a range of HIT projects to accelerate this year that mesh with the STP and align Bristol Health Partners with the region’s future direction. We hope that this renewed focus on priority HIT projects that support the STP will help overcome some of the issues our HITs have experienced in pushing through change.
STPs, which are part of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, aim to address the fragmentation of the NHS and social care. It is this very fragmentation that Bristol Health Partners was first set up to address, but from the grassroots, rather than the top-down. It has been fascinating to marry the two approaches together in a way which will enhance local health and care.
We have welcomed Anna Klonowski, Chief Executive of Bristol City Council, and John Iredale, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health at the University of Bristol, to the Board. With a new partnership agreement to confirm, and changes to the partnership’s membership and resulting finances for the year ahead, the Board has much to consider.And with the HITs’ priority projects now progressing and the partnership’s exciting work on using data to improve health and social care through research, we have a great deal to look forward to.