Welcome to the September issue of The Triangle

This month at BSW Together Integrated Care System (ICS) we have been very much looking to the future and how we develop and deliver our health and care services, out of hospital, closer to home and in the community.

Our Integrated Community Based Care (ICBC) programme is seeking to redesign the way community-based health and care services operate. The Programme lies at the heart of our aspiration to implement a greater focus on prevention and early intervention in our approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) population.

This longer-term transformation of community services is in line with our Integrated Care Strategy and BSW Care Model and will enable better integration of local services to meet the needs of our communities, helping to address the challenges facing health and care services including increasing demand, workforce recruitment and retention, and financial sustainability.

We are also delighted to be supporting the ‘Know Your Numbers’ campaign which aims to encourage over 40s to get their blood pressure checked at a community pharmacy, at home, or in other community settings. Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but many will not realise it. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms but if untreated, it increases the risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Raising awareness of potential health issues in this way will help tackle health inequalities and empower people to take charge of their own health and live healthier for longer.

We have also been reflecting on the impact of the trial of Lucy Letby. The details that emerged from the case shocked us all. Our thoughts are with all the families affected, who have suffered pain and anguish that few of us can possibly imagine.

The outcome of the case will have ramifications for all those providing health and care services over the coming weeks, months and years. We welcome the full statutory inquiry that has been announced by the Department of Health and Social Care into the events at the Countess of Chester Hospital and we are committed to working with our partners to do all we can to prevent anything like this happening again.

It has been hard to hear and read the stories of those colleagues at the Trust who attempted to raise concerns around Letby’s activities at the highest levels. This has shone an uncompromising light on the importance of our Freedom To Speak Up policies. Freedom to Speak Up Guardians were established in 2016 following the events at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and recommendations from Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up Inquiry. Freedom to Speak Up helps ensure that everyone working in the health service feels safe to speak up and can be confident that they will be heard. At BSW ICB, we have reiterated to all staff our commitment to strengthening our Freedom to Speak Up work and are clear about how our colleagues can feel safe to speak up and how we acknowledge this feedback, listen and act upon it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this issue of The Triangle.