South East London ICS board on ‘collaborate, create and connect’, and transforming mental health and maternity services

South East London ICS has shared papers from their integrated care board meeting in February, highlighting some of the key areas of work within the ICS and plans for the future.

Here we will take a look at some of the work happening across the system.

Leadership Academy

Andrew Bland, CEO of the ICB, supplied an update on various areas of work across the ICS. This inclosed information about the South East London Leadership Academy Launch and Programme, described as an “opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges facing the health and care system and to work together to deliver the best possible outcomes for south east London citizens and communities”.

The academy has been established with the aim of developing current and future leaders, in order to ensure that the system is capable of transformational change moving forwards. It includes three programmes – collaborate, create and connect – which focus on supporting leaders to optimise their own potential alongside the potential of local organisations and communities.

Collaborate is an “innovative modular programme designed to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and mindsets necessary to succeed as system leaders” and was launched with an initial cohort of participants in December 2022. Create is a three-day programme designed to support teams working on innovative projects, delivered in collaboration with the Billions Institute. Connect “brings together leaders from across the system to support the development of new and trusted connections as well as key leadership skills and behaviours”. The ICS is also development a framework for connecting mentors with mentees within the system, in order to support professional development.

ICS strategy update

The papers highlight that following extensive engagement with partners and the public, the ICS has shared their cross-system strategic priorities for the next five years. We covered the news here.

“The publication also provides some information on the next phase of our work on the strategy, which will include convening reference groups of leaders and experts from across our system, developing an overall strategic approach to the issues identified, setting clear targets and milestones for improvement, and developing implementation plans,” the document states.

Discussion at the previous meeting emphasised the need for ambition in thinking around the strategic priorities, to review best practice in other health and care systems, to consider approaches beyond traditional healthcare interventions and to identify opportunities to address underlying social determinants of health. In addition, previous discussion highlighted the importance of working in close partnership with voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) partner and engaging effectively with service users. “They also highlighted the need to focus on areas where action bringing together partners across South East London would deliver greatest impact,” the papers add, “while supporting work happening locally within our boroughs and providers.”

Further discussion suggested a broad review of existing models of support to identify potential opportunities to improve current services. Members also discussed how VCSE skills can be better harnessed, particularly to support children and young people.

The document reads: “In the next phase of work on the strategy, we will be bringing together leaders and experts from across our system to take forward each of our five strategic priorities. We are proposing to publish a second strategy document setting out our overall approach to the five priorities, our targets and our delivery plans by June 2023.”

Mental health in children and young people

Picking up on the point above, the board moved on to discuss their partnership work around supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The papers acknowledge that in July 2022, the ICB supported proposed expansion of the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC) parenting programme across the remaining boroughs, in addition to further developing proposals to expand mental health support in schools.

At this meeting, it was confirmed that EPEC roll-out has progressed across the four `Places originally identified. Looking ahead, each Place is to start parent group training. The papers note that further work is required in expanding mental health support in schools, but each Place has undertaken preparatory work to co-produce and co-design an additive offer. This is to lead to a range of initiatives being piloted in 2023/24 across multiple schools.

Maternity services

Dr Bill Kirkup reported on the East Kent NHS Foundation Trust towards the end of last year. In response to the Kirkup report, the South East London Local Maternity and Neonatal System is working together to respond to four areas of action, including identifying poorly performing units, giving care with compassion and kindness, team working with a common purpose and responding to a challenge with honesty.

The ICB has prepared a report entitled ‘Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent: reading the signals’ in response to Kirkup’s findings. In it, they share key achievements to improve services including the development of a South East London Maternal Medicine network to provide support across the system, a perinatal optimisation workstream, and system-wide working to transform maternity care through the use of digital tools.

“The progress we have made in reshaping our LMNS (Local Maternity and Neonatal System) and fostering greater collaboration, challenge and support across maternity services in south east London puts us in a strong position to meet future challenges. However, we recognise there is significant work that needs to be done,” the report states. “We have made good progress in establishing appropriate forums to monitor and address quality issues but need to make sure that these are optimised. We will work closely with the ICB Quality and Performance Committee to ensure that reporting and escalation routes are clear and understood.”

Planning for 2023/24

The board meeting covered an overview of planned next steps for the ICS in view of national guidance and objectives.

“We have been systematically working through the guidance to take stock of and ensure a collective understanding and interpretation of requirements,” the document says, “and crucially the overlay of our own priorities in the context of population need, current operational and sustainability challenges and care pathway improvement opportunities.”

The papers share that the ICB has already started work on their medium-term financial strategy and is currently assessing guidance to secure allocative principles and approaches as quickly as possible.

The ICB is working to develop plans that align with the national delivery expectations and “ensuring we put these national requirements in the context of and alongside our local priorities and objectives, noting these will align in many areas to the national ambition but with a clear need to
ensure that we are focussed on targeting our work and actions to meet the needs of the south east London population specifically.”

The papers note a need to agree contracts between the ICB and providers for 2023/24 which will “require rapid and pragmatic work to agree baselines, associated activity plans and delivery objectives”.

As a final note, the document highlights that the ICB has established clear planning and coordinating processes, recognising inputs from across the system. It adds that regular feedback will be sought as draft planning submissions are produced, and as the Joint Forward view and 2023/24 plan are finalised.

To read the board papers in full, please click here.