Welcome to the January issue of The Triangle

Although we begin 2024 facing significant seasonal pressure on our services and the ongoing impact of industrial action, we look ahead to the next twelve months with confidence that our joint approach to working as a unified health and care system puts us in the best possible position to face the challenges ahead.

In this first issue of The Triangle for 2024, we celebrate the positive work taking place across BSW that is helping to improve the health and well-being of local people and tackle some of the issues we continue to address as a system.

Unequal access to services and starkly differing health outcomes is a priority as the ICB beds down into its second full year as a statutory body.  A new study by the Institute of Health Equity at University College London has sadly found that more than 1 million people in England died prematurely in the decade after 2011 owing to a combination of poverty, austerity and Covid, highlighting once again the extent to which economic and social inequalities are leading to poorer people dying early from cancer, heart problems and other diseases.

This is unacceptable and here in BSW, we will draw on our Health Inequalities strategy to develop new ways to make inroads into tackling this inequity. In this issue of The Triangle we hear how some of our colleagues in BSW have been taking part in the Black Maternity Matters programme which supports maternity and neonatal staff to reduce the inequitable outcomes faced by some members of our communities.

Advances are also taking place in our cancer programmes which, through new approaches to testing and treatment, are helping our clinicians to diagnose more cancers earlier and improve treatment and outcomes. We have a host of local initiatives, from roadshows to community champions, that are all making a difference to the 1 in 2 people and their loved ones who will be affected by cancer at some point during their lives. The statistics show that cancer affects us all, so delivering the best outcomes for everyone is an absolute priority. You can read more about these initiatives in this issue of the Triangle

Ensuring parity of esteem and focus for mental health is a priority for BSW. Our adult mental health provider, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, is focusing this January on providing effective and accessible talking therapies to people in BSW during what can often be a very difficult time of the year for many people.

Joint-working, integrated plans and combined initiatives are at the heart of the BSW Together Integrated Care system and our ambition to help people live longer, happier and healthier lives.

Thank you, as always, for reading and do let us know what you think about the issues we’ve raised here or in the rest of this issue of The Triangle by contacting bswicb.partnership@nhs.net