Board papers from Northamptonshire ICB: elective care updates, mental health targets and more

Let’s take a look at the April board papers from Northamptonshire ICB, in which the board share some key system updates.

Firstly, the board highlighted how the Board Assurance Framework (BAF) has been developed with an overarching focus on the ICB’s four key aims, and prepared with the support of the executive leadership team.

The four key aims are to:

  • Improve outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • Tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • Enhance productivity and value for money
  • Help the NHS support broader social and economic development

In terms of next steps, the ICB senior team and the ICB risk manager will continue to work together to ensure that “emerging risks highlighted for escalation are reviewed and risk assessment completed.” The resulting output will then be reported to the appropriate committee for assurance and advice.

System highlights and updates

The board shared an update on urgent and emergency care, noting that the system remains at a high level on the Operational Pressures Escalation Framework with capacity and flow as the predominant issues. However a “significant improvement” is noted from prior months is the number of patients waiting over 12 hours for emergency care. Ambulance volumes were “particularly high” in March, but over 95 percent were handed over within an hour across the county, ahead of the regional average. The board noted hat there are high numbers of “stranded and super-stranded” patients which remains a concern, with further work underway to address this.

On elective care, the board shared that 52 week waits are rising across the system but estimated indicated no 104 week wait patients by the end of spring. They added that the in-county 78+ week wait position is “the best in the Midlands region”. Diagnostic performance poses a challenge, but “Northamptonshire remains ahead of the national and regional percentage achievement in all elective constitutional measures with the exception of long diagnostic waits for MRI, Echo and NOUS.”

Looking at mental health national targets, the board highlights that a recovery action plan is in place to increase performance around IAPT access, dementia diagnosis, physical health checks and IPS access. Autism and learning disability pathways are progressing well, with learning disability annual health health checks exceeding their annual targets. Investment plans are also being re-drafted in accordance with the increased inpatient numbers.

With regards to the system’s wider mental health care, the board notes that 2023-24 Collaborative Commissioning Plans have been drafted and are currently under review in light of requests to focus more investment into areas of acute mental health pressures. The plans aim to “expedite recovery and alleviate resource strain on other parts of the system” such as A&E.

In terms of system cancer performance, referral rates at a provider level have continued to increase and are significantly above the national average.

Throughout February and the beginning of March, the ICB focused on planning a successful spring COVID booster programme. This will be underpinned by a specialised communications and engagement strategy, ensuring “robust coverage of harder to reach and under-served communities, including rural areas.”

On the topic of vaccinations, the Northamptonshire Flu Steering Group will be meeting monthly until September 2023 to plan “an effective, cross-provider plan for the season, factoring in effective communication and engagement to identified priority groups.”

Looking at primary care, the ICB noted that the number of appointments have steadily increased since June; reaching above 40,000 for the first time since November 2021. This includes the rise in non face-to-face appointments which the board anticipated due to the new ways of working across the system.

If you would like to learn more about the ICB’s board meetings, please click here.