01 October 2019

Naturally collaborative: Dorset’s superpower

Naturally collaborative: Dorset’s superpower

Hello readers. Thank you for clicking on my first Dorset LEP blog. My name is Dr Phil Richardson and I am part of the NHS Integrated Care Systems Leadership team. I also sit on the Dorset LEP Board.

In 2019, the NHS will publish its long-term plan. This plan will be different. It will focus on community and encompass all aspects that impact health and wellbeing. It’s a whole community plan and it is possible because of Dorset’s superpower – collaboration.

The NHS in Dorset brings annually £1.5bn into the county’s economy to run services for the local population. It is the biggest local employer with over 20,000 staff who deliver services in over 300 locations as well as directly to people at home. Together with the two unitary authorities - Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and Dorset Council - the NHS forms one of the most progressive and successful Integrated Care Systems (ICS) partnerships in England.

The ICS is an essential part of the Dorset community which touches everyone’s life through one of the many services provided. Including staff within the local authority, the workforce rises to a total of around 30,000 employees. If we include the wider caring community, such as carers at home, this figure is likely to add up to more than 100,000 people.

If we then consider all the people and organisations that provide products and services to the ICS - everything from residential nursing homes to the independent sandwich van trader who plays the old ‘ice cream’ tune outside my office - we can start to see just how much the ICS is part of the local economy. Not only in providing essential services, but also as part of the community. If you live in Dorset you are likely to know someone who works in the ICS. We all use the services.

The ICS partnership has some real challenges such as increased demand for services from people who have increasingly more complex conditions or a limited budget and ever changing standards and regulations which mean the system is stretched. There are also shortages of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health professionals, care workers and scientists. Competition for professionals is strong with many of the established high-profile organisations elsewhere in the country able to attract the top talent.

It’s hard to stand out. Workforce is our biggest challenge and that is why it is the primary focus in our new long-term plan.

Dorset has a long history of collaboration and partnering in health and care. In 2014, the NHS started on a journey to deliver high-quality, sustainable services through the Clinical Services Review (CSR). This provided the basis for the medical services. In 2016, the ICS developed the Sustainability and Transformation Plan which incorporated CSR and provided a focus on integrated health and social care services closer to home and a key focus on prevention.

Collaboration has led to a very close relationship between the NHS and local authorities. Senior teams meet monthly to review progress across a wide range of professional areas and services. This year, the ICS signed a partnership agreement with Bournemouth University (BU) with a focus on creating a home-grown future fit-for-purpose workforce. We are also collaborating on research, with BU being an active member of Research Active Dorset. In April, we held the first ever collaborative event between BU, ICS, global industry, local business and Dorset LEP, innovation experts and those at the leading edge of digital development. It is clear that the ICS is a key enabler for the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) for Dorset.

Aligning with the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS), we have plans for a digital, community-based medical school, a living laboratory science park and a health and wellbeing festival with the local arts and culture community. We have talked to Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) to see how we could ensure our workplaces offer a better place for wellbeing. A healthy workforce delivers the best service. This applies to everyone who works, wants to work or wants to get back to work.

Our clinicians and senior leaders are shaping policy at the national level and are working with digital entrepreneurs to bring new advances into the hands of the people who need them the most. People with mental health challenges, who are vulnerable, who live in remote places or in social isolation. In fact, anyone in Dorset, everyone is included.

We are working on technology that can benefit people who cannot access technology and developing new services with the people who do use them. We have attracted interest from around the world for the innovation we are developing and are one of the top Integrated Care Systems for population health management and integrating patient care data. Dorset is one of only a few systems that are being supported with additional investment from the limited national funds.

Our partnership with the Ministry of Defence means we have been able to create a new training and development hub. Now, we are building plans for an integrated research and innovation hub. Senior leaders are currently working across the county borders into Hampshire, Somerset and across the wider south west geography to share best practice and to collaborate on research, innovation and the adoption of digital solutions to help our stretched workforce. The ICS plays an essential role in skills development. We are talking to several local businesses to explore opportunities for joint skills development in the workplace. This augments the work done by local colleges and universities.

We see health and wellbeing as essential to a thriving and productive economy and believe that by working in a collaborative way we can do the most to help local people. Our collaborative effort is bringing together health, transport, housing, education, infrastructure, technology and the local community. We are in a great place to be able to make the most of national funding opportunities and to work with allied industry that is open to inward investment. We will be able to modernise our hospitals and community buildings. We already have £147m allocated for hospital improvements.

As for our workforce, it’s time to move away from thinking about jobs and focus much more on developing blended roles, portfolio careers, flexible working. Going forward, we will no longer have a golden thread of health as we develop a golden network of opportunity for people and their families. Staying or moving to Dorset for a new role will mean entering a thriving economy where the opportunities for health and care professionals will include leading research, the latest technology, a supportive and friendly culture, the ability to work across multiple organisations, (including BU) and joint working with global pharmaceutical and technology organisations.

Coupled with this, is a world class beach at Bournemouth and Poole, the Purbecks, the rolling countryside, Swanage, Weymouth, Brownsea Island, the chain link ferry, places you went to on holiday with your family. Natural collaboration. This is where we live and work. It’s beautiful.

Dorset is open for business and invites you to join the collaboration. Instead of thinking about Dorset as a place to retire, think about Dorset as a place to live. A great place to collaborate for future health, wellbeing and prosperity. Be part of one of the best places to be alive.

Dr Phil Richardson is a scientist and a member of the ICS leadership team. He collaborates with people on digital, research, innovation, health services, strategy, improvement and transformation.



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