Plans to join up Somerset’s health and social care services have reached a new milestone with the announcement today (30-3-16) that Dr Matthew Dolman, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is to lead the county’s process of system-wide integrated service planning.
By June 2016, all health and care communities must have developed a comprehensive five year strategy setting out how they intend to join up health and social care services with partner agencies and local service providers.
Known as the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), communities are not only required to show how hospital, GP, community health and social care services will deliver more integrated working but also ensure they:
1. Improve the health and wellbeing of their local population
2. Improve the quality of local health and care services
3. Deliver financial stability and balance throughout the local health care system
Somerset CCG, Primary Care, Voluntary Sector, the county’s NHS Foundation Trusts and Somerset County Council are already working towards the greater joining up of health and social care services through the “Somerset Together” programme.
In addition, Yeovil District Hospital is working with local practices to test the development of new and innovative models of service through the South Somerset Symphony Project – a scheme that received both national recognition and additional funding when granted the prestigious ‘Vanguard’ status in 2015.
Dr Matthew Dolman will now take up a key leadership role for the Somerset health and social care community and act as the ‘champion’ and key decision maker for the production and delivery of the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
NHS England has given this new role the title of ‘Senior Responsible Officer’ (SRO). They describe the person in the role as being responsible for convening and chairing system-wide meetings and facilitating open and honest conversations that will be necessary to secure sign-up to a shared vision and plan.
Commenting on his new role as ‘Senior Responsible Officer’ (SRO) for Somerset’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan, Dr Dolman, said:
“As a local family doctor I am excited by this opportunity to lead the local health system in putting together our Sustainability and Transformation Plan for the next five years.
“We are already experiencing a rising demand for services as our population ages. Many of these elderly people require more care as they are living with a number of long term conditions. But I believe we can still deliver improvement in the health and outcomes for the people of Somerset as well as improving the quality of care provided.
“To be successful we know that we must change the existing models of care and encourage individuals and communities to adopt healthier lifestyles and be better at caring for themselves. The Symphony Project in South Somerset, and other new models of care across the county, has already had some success in delivering more care closer to the patient’s own home and increasing their independence. Somerset Together will change the incentives for all health and care organisations encouraging them to work ever closer together to improve outcomes, quality and achieve the savings required to be financially sustainable.”
All 44 STPs in England (and the populations they serve) will now have an SRO and most are required to serve populations of one to two million people. Whilst Somerset has been designated as a separate footprint (planning area), it will have to work closely with neighbouring CCG areas on a number of key service issues.
Dr Dolman will be seconded from his role as Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to take up this new role as the county’s STP Senior Responsible Officer.
The Vice Chairman of Somerset CCG, Mr Lou Evans, will take on the role as Chairman on an interim basis, whilst a clinical leader is identified to take on the role as Chair.