10 September - non-executive directors webinar

10 September 2021

This week’s session, the first after a short summer break, opened in conversation with Bob Alexander, Independent Chair of Sussex Health and Care Partnership ICS. Bob is also the acting chair of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, having been the substantive NED for Audit Risk and Governance. He is a non-executive director of London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Community Health Partnerships Ltd. And he is a trustee of the Demelza Hospice for Children charity and an associate (advisory) director with CIPFA.

Looking back over the summer, Bob said: “We’ve tried to encourage staff to get some downtime while at the same time trying to focus on our elective recovery approach. We’ve made conscious decisions about using more temporary staff to get our substantive staff some time off and we haven’t rushed people back into in-person work when digital can still be very effective.

“The collaborative working in my part of London has held up and that has been beneficial. Even though we’ve come out of the real intensity where collaboration was necessary earlier in the year, it has held which is the critical thing.

“We didn’t allow any of the leadership changes to be a distraction. We were confident about the approach we had to how we wanted to create the ICS initially. The partnership working that put the system in such good stead has continued brilliantly.

“People have seen the value of working together. It’s not without its challenges and when we discuss the money, we will see this coming out but the development of trust and respect between organisations as to what other folk can do to help them be as successful as they can be is starting to be quite demonstrable.”

Also overheard during today’s webinar:

“There has been a change in public expectation in our public health service. We have seen this unprecedented demand for healthcare through our emergency departments and it feels like there has been a real shift with the public about where they want to get their healthcare and who from. The public perception is that GPs aren’t working, when of course they are, but this means that more people are coming to the hospitals.”

“For us, there has been a stuttering in the rates of infection in our patch. We have been able to do an astonishing pull-back on waiting lists recently, but this is fragile. The increase in the number of people in critical care has big implications for the entirety of the system. We can’t handle it if we don’t have mutual aid across the patch.”

“The pressures on our staff are immense and as a community provider we’re really seeing the complexities of safeguarding come through. It’s having quite an impact on our teams dealing with these things. So staff welfare is top of my list at the moment. As boards we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure our staff sense of professionalism is encouraged.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation. For further details, visit our events page.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk