David Relph's valedictory message

David Relph, Bristol Health Partners Director of four years, leaves his role on 24 April 2018. Here are his reflections on his time leading the partnership.

David Relph, Bristol Health Partners Director of four years, leaves his role on 24 April 2018. Here are his reflections on his time leading the partnership.

As I leave the partnership I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all those people with whom I have worked over the last four years. I think Bristol Health Partners is in very good place – a successful partnership with a national profile that can demonstrate real impact and has funding in place for the next three years. We also have that most precious thing – a model that we know works.

We all owe a debt to the people that set Bristol Health Partners up back in 2012, many of whom are still actively involved in the partnership today. The principles that they established are still at the heart of what we do – a commitment to collaboration, the link between evidence and research and service change, and a focus on population health – all brought together in the Health Integration Team (HIT) model.

During my time as Director I have begun to understand what a powerful and important model the HIT approach is. It sounds straightforward: to help people work better together to create positive change based on the evidence. But this is complex and pioneering work that requires commitment, patience and passion. The HITs have been running, in some cases, for six years and we are now starting to see the profound impacts of their work, in terms of patient outcomes, commissioning decisions and research funding. This success is due to the myriad people involved in HITs at all levels. The HIT Directors in particular are doing work that is helping to transform the health and care system from the bottom up. Long may they continue.

I have worked with a huge range of people across the city and I hope that I have done something to help bridge the gaps that often exist between large, often internally focussed, systems and organisations like the NHS, and the communities that they work within and for. Organisations cannot be islands or fortresses – they exist in a geographic and a social context and the ones that will thrive in the next 20 years will be those that recognise that. Bluntly, the last four years have taught me that organisational success is irrelevant unless the city that we all share is somehow being made better as a result.

I’ve been very lucky to work with an excellent Board, and I’d like to thank Andrea Young in particular for her support, guidance and friendship as the Chair of the partnership. I’d also like to highlight just how lucky we have been with the quality of the Bristol Health Partners Executive Group. This group is the operational heart of the partnership and has helped drive it forward – and to change it when needed. David Wynick has done an outstanding job as its Chair and I have enjoyed working with him immensely.

I have also been extremely lucky to work with a truly great core team in the partnership. They are one of the best teams I have worked with in 25 years and I shall miss them all.

Overall though, I am very happy to have been involved in the story of Bristol Health Partners in some way and very proud of the work we have done. I shall always be a friend of the partnership and will do what I can, in whatever capacity, to help it succeed. I look forward to seeing the partnership develop and flourish and – I feel sure – working with my friends and colleagues in Bristol again in the future.