Not only is today the start of the new 2021/22 financial year but it is also DCHS’s 10th birthday – the Trust was formally established on the 1st April 2011. Although I guess for many of us 2011 seems like a very long time ago, we are still a relatively young organisation and we should take great pride in what we’ve built, developed and delivered in that time. As we look forward at the opportunities, challenges and priorities for this coming year and beyond I think it is very significant and positive that the breadth of community services we provide across Derby and Derbyshire sit within a specialist community services provider that is strong, stable and recognised for the quality of its services and the people that provide them. We are a fundamental partner in the system - in a great position to influence the way the Joined Up Care Derbyshire Integrated Care System develops and ensure that the importance and value of your contribution to improving our population’s health is fully recognised and enhanced.
We have had our Board meeting today and spent some time thinking through the implications of the NHS Planning Guidance for this year that has just been published. It recognises that we are now getting on top of Covid-19 and have to refocus on how we work together not just to keep it at bay (with great IPC and the vaccination programme roll-out for example) but also build back capacity to tackle the backlogs that have developed in the last year and in areas like mental health, primary and community services where pre-Covid demand pressures have been exacerbated over the last year. Health inequalities have been starkly visible in the last year and the NHS has committed to reducing these more effectively than in the past in the way that it develops and delivers services.
So there is lots to do but none of it will happen unless we can start from a position that puts the NHS workforce’s wellbeing at the centre of our plans for the next year. This means really making progress on reducing workload pressures by funding, training, recruiting and retaining more staff, taking time to pause, rest and refocus after the last year’s extraordinary efforts and pressures and making sure every one of us has access to help and support to manage our personal physical and mental health.
Across Derbyshire and within DCHS we have got to work through the detail of what we plan to deliver this year and how we will balance the need to look after ourselves with the need deal with increasing demand and public expectation. Wherever possible we have to develop approaches that do both – by reducing bureaucracy, adopting smarter ways of working and innovating. But the Board recognises that there may well be tensions too and that we can’t ‘run to catch up’ at the expense of the health and wellbeing of the workforce. We’re committed to working to developing a plan in the next couple of months that is sustainable - trying to ‘build back better, and fairer’ not just returning to the way things were pre-Covid.
I’m lucky enough to be finishing today for the long Easter weekend (and then some leave- yeah). I know many of you will be working so wanted to say thank you. This time last year I wrote about how difficult celebrating such a special time of year was going to be without the ability to share the normal faith, family and community experiences that characterise it. Its Easter, the end of Passover, Vaisakhi and Ramadan again this month and who would have imagined that we would still be locked down and so constrained in what we can do……… Whether you share the Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, any other faith or none, I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate, reflect, rest and recharge over the next few weeks.
With very best wishes
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Ash Green Learning Disability Centre
T: 01629 817892
M: 07525 174113