Reflections 2017: Andrew Morgan – The importance of community-based care continues to grow

It is easy to forget how much you have achieved in a year until you truly take the time to reflect and it is a privilege to be able to do just that in my first column for The Lincolnite.

There has certainly been plenty to write about during 2017. Nationally, we have experienced a general election which focused heavily on NHS provision, terrorist attacks and a global cyber attack, both of which demonstrated the admirable and awe-inspiring ability of NHS services and their partners to respond in an emergency.

Locally, I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of our staff and volunteers at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust who continue to work exceptionally hard to deliver great care.

The people in our teams are our greatest asset and the feedback we receive from our patients and service users continues to make me very proud to be a part of the trust.

They have risen to the challenges we have faced, including the smooth transfer of our 0-19 services to Lincolnshire County Council, taking immediate action regarding fire safety at some of our community hospitals and consultation with our service commissioners regarding the future of Lincoln Walk In Centre.

Our GP Out of Hours Service underwent an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and was rated ‘Good’ overall, while our Finance Team, along with our budget holders, helped to ensure we were able to manage our money well.

We welcomed new nurse associates, among the first in the country, to start training in the newly-created role, and were honoured to sign the Lincolnshire Armed Forces Covenant.

We have been able to showcase innovation and talent by speaking at a number of national conferences. This included Confed17, where we spoke about improvements to our community hospital discharge process to help people get home sooner, and Hospice UK, where we explained how we are working in partnership at the Butterfly Hospice in Boston to deliver excellent care for patients.

We are very proud to be one of a select number of NHS organisations among the approved training providers for apprentices with the Skills Funding Agency and even prouder to say our apprentices are flourishing.

Among them has been Atlanta Marshall, a health care support worker in Spalding, who attended the National NHS Apprenticeship Celebration Awards after being crowned the East Midlands’ area winner.

We were delighted to be shortlisted for a national award for our Clinical Assessment Service, which supports patients over the telephone to get the advice and signposting to the right service following a call to 111.

Our year ahead is set to be equally as challenging and exciting.

Helping people to receive great care close to home is our bread and butter as a provider of NHS community services and it is also a pivotal part of Lincolnshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. This work is the countywide blueprint for how and why we need to change the way we approach and deliver services to make them sustainable for the future.

Some of the specific details of this are still being determined and will need to be subject to public consultation, but we are able to forge ahead with other projects, such as the development of Neighbourhood Teams.

Neighbourhood teams will see staff from different organisations in a local area working differently together to help those in the local community to stay healthy at home, using services appropriate to their needs while avoiding unnecessary hospital admission.

While this is still in its infancy, we are already seeing very promising and positive changes, which we look forward to showcasing in the coming months.

Finally, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

New Year’s resolutions

Personal: To continue exploring the county of Lincolnshire, having moved here in 2015.

Professional: To continue to support staff in ensuring their feedback directly shapes the future development of excellent community services.