Welcome to the April issue of The Triangle

This month at our Integrated Board meeting in public we looked at plans to address two pressing and critical areas: mental health and dentistry.

We know that mental health conditions have been rising across BSW, particularly among our children and young people, with mental health worsening due to factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis. We also know that many individuals have struggled to access the support they need when they need it.

To address this, BSW ICB has jointly developed a draft Mental Health Strategy which sets out achievable and transformational ambitions for the future. We are currently consulting with our partners on this strategy before it is formally adopted.

For local people, our strategy will mean they see a new emphasis on prevention, earlier access to support and a renewed focus on personalised care.

Importantly, our strategy has been developed from the “bottom-up”, drawing on the views of a wide range of individuals, those with lived experiences, organisations and feedback collected at workshops and forums across BSW.

Although markedly different in its scope, the same issues of addressing access to services and the importance of strong prevention strategies have informed our plan to recover and transform local dental services.

Like our Mental Health Strategy, the plan presented at our Board meeting sets out clear steps to improve oral health for children and adults as part of an essential cradle-to-grave prevention service and highlights where we need to focus our attention to improve.

This commitment is also at the centre of the work of our Integrated Care Partnership which met recently to focus on the wider issue of prevention and early intervention in everything we do in BSW.

This was an important and successful meeting which underlined how tackling the big health and wellbeing challenges we face in BSW is a job not only for the NHS but for the wider health and wellbeing community. This includes local authorities, other health and care providers and our valued colleagues in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector.

At a time when public satisfaction with the NHS is reportedly at an all-time low, initiatives like these, crafted through a concerted focus on integrated care, underscore our unwavering dedication to restoring public trust in our services.

You can read more about these meetings and reports and a link to the relevant presentations and papers in this issue of The Triangle.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read this and please do share your own thoughts on any of the issues raised here by contacting bswicb.partnership@nhs.net

Sue Harriman

Chief Executive Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board

Stephanie Elsy

Chair, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board