24 September - non-executive directors webinar

24 September 2021

This week’s session opened in conversation with Mehboob Khan, vice-chair of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and non-executive director at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Overheard during the webinar:

“In the pandemic it was like the councils and NHS were chucked into an arranged marriage where you can’t get out of it and have to make it work – and we did make it work both at London level and at borough level. It did show that when we’re not arguing about the money and the regulators are off our backs, we can do brilliant things really quickly to help communities and help hospitals run better. It brought out a greater understanding at exec level between both sectors about the different challenges and opportunities that each faces.”

“East London was hit particularly hard by Covid. We estimate around a 1/3 of the population caught Covid and if you look harder at these figures it was the most deprived areas that were suffering the most. This shone a light for everyone on the importance of tackling population health and deprivation.”

“The ICS structure is a real opportunity to work together on longer term goals, public health, deprivation etc. Local government has been involved in sub-regional partnerships for a long time, it’s part of our DNA.”

“We have to take communities with us if we’re going to change services that they received pre-pandemic through the ICS. We have to take into account things like transport and accessibility and make sure people are treated as people rather than a number in a system or an individual on a conveyer belt going through the system.”

“ICSs see themselves as anchor institutions but how does this link to the role of the trusts involved, who also see themselves as anchors? The change in the role of foundation trusts has yet to be really thought through in my view. Is this additional level necessary to achieve collaboration?”

“Reaching out into our local communities is something we have been active in for a while. What I think we need to do more is work with our acute trusts and acute colleagues as they don’t do so well in community engagement.”

“Local government should be leading on the place initiatives in the system, but this isn’t what I’m hearing among NHS trust colleagues. We need to work out how the NHS works with local authorities to support that place-based focus rather than the NHS saying they’re the place-based people and doing it all by themselves. Progress on this is very slow.”

“For me the challenge is less about the structure. NHS and government have missed a trick in terms of the structure of the ICS partnership board as they haven’t engaged early enough with local authorities. In terms of recruitment, the local authorities are an afterthought when they could really help.”

“A lot of great practice that we see is actually because of the personalities involved rather than the structures.”

“The ICS will work well not only if we get the relationships right but if Whitehall steps back and allow for local innovation and ideas to flourish and for local risk taking. If they constrain it and request every ICS to look and operate the same it won’t work well.”

“Local government doesn’t have a great brand. The NHS however has a fantastic brand that can get people to do things that they want them to do. We should use this brand going forwards for things like transport and sustainability as people will respond. We could use this in the ICS to do proper messaging around population health.”

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