Hello and welcome to #BSWTogether – a brand new newsletter for people working at partner organisations in the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care System (ICS) – BSW Partnership.

The BSW Partnership was established in December 2020 and brings together our three local authorities, three hospital trusts, a clinical commissioning group (CCG), an ambulance trust, a mental health trust, community health providers and local voluntary organisations.

You’ve received this newsletter because you are one of our 34,000 strong workforce across BSW,  playing a vital role in delivering health and care services for the people in our communities.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to thank you for the incredible work you have been doing throughout the pandemic. The past year has been the ultimate challenge for all of us and I hope you share the enormous pride that I feel in the outstanding way that everyone in BSW pulled together to look after our communities in sometimes scary and often difficult circumstances.

Of course, Covid has not yet gone away, and we are now working hard to manage its ongoing impact. Demand for our services is huge and it will take some time to get back to where we were before the pandemic.

I know that you may be feeling tired and stressed by what you have been through and what we are still facing. That is why it is so important that, whilst doing the best we can for our communities, we take the time to look after ourselves and our colleagues as well.  I am pleased that a lot of the support that has been available to colleagues throughout the pandemic will continue and be developed further. I hope you will make use of these services when you need to.

One of the important lessons of the pandemic, of course, has been to show how important it is that we all set aside our organisational differences to work together to do the best we can for the people we are here to serve. We saw the benefits of that clearly in the hugely successful community hubs, the vaccination programme and in how we are working together now to recover from the pandemic.

We know that working together delivers the best possible outcomes for our population and the current development of our Partnership across BSW at system, place and neighbourhood level – with health, local government and the voluntary sector all working together – will make the best possible use of all our collective expertise and resources.

This is an exciting time in the history of health and care services and the new ways of working we are developing will have a hugely positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities. More partnership working will help us to achieve the primary purpose of the BSW Partnership: working together to empower people to lead their best lives.

In this first issue of #BSWTogether you will get a chance to find out more about the Partnership, how your colleagues in our different partner organisations have been making a difference and what plans we have for the future.

But we would also like to hear from you. We have included a short survey to find out more about what you and our colleagues understand about the BSW Partnership – please do take the time to complete this.

Thank you again for all your hard work and sacrifices over the past year. Please do let us know what you think about #BSWTogether by sending an email to bswicb.partnership@nhs.net

Stephanie Elsy

Independent Chair, BSW Partnership