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Team Brief is the monthly communication to all staff from the Chief Executive which is cascaded throughout the organisation to give local managers the opportunity to add to the core corporate messages and localise them. A feedback facility ensures that Team Brief addresses the issues raised by staff.

A full archive of Team Brief is available on StaffNet (you must be on the NHS network to access).

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Team Brief - January 2017

SEASONS greetings to you all as we enter 2017…and especially to the many hundreds of our staff who worked through Christmas and New Year to deliver and support services to our patients over the festive season. In this issue of Team Brief I want to talk to you about facing up to winter/festive pressures and spending and using resources differently.

Facing up to winter/festive pressures

Our acute hospitals faced a period of serious challenge in the week running up to Christmas as patient numbers arriving at our emergency departments increased significantly on the previous year and more of those who arrived for treatment required to be admitted.

Despite our extra winter pressure measures the increased demand on unscheduled care and inpatient admissions we were unable to meet our waiting time targets which attracted some fairly negative media headlines.

I am, however, very aware of the huge efforts from frontline staff to ensure patient safety was not compromised.

I am also encouraged that the response from our management teams and clinical leaders to address the challenges of growing demand at peak periods was commendable.

Working together our staff teams, with extra support from colleagues at the Scottish Government Health Department, are continuing to improve patient flows and alleviate the pressure on inpatient beds by ensuring patients who no longer require acute care can be discharged home or to another care setting with appropriate support.

We can expect the challenges of rising patient demands to continue over the next few weeks which is why we have launched a widespread public communications strategy encouraging people to use pharmacies, NHS24 and our Minor Injuries Units where appropriate instead of an A&E as a first option.

Meanwhile work continues at a pace with a ‘root and branch’ review of unscheduled care, headed up by deputy medical director Dr David Stewart.

Sustainable improvement of emergency department performance remains a key focus for the board.

Spending & using resources differently

At the end of last year Finance Minister Derek McKay laid out his budget plans for Scotland which included £300m more for NHS and Social Care. This figure represents more than “high street” inflation but must be seen in the context of all healthcare systems around the world being faced with the challenge of an ageing population, with people living with multiple conditions, and expectations arising from new drugs, treatments and technologies.

This situation means that investment in healthcare needs to be aligned to the reform of health and social care services and I believe this reform needs to be significant and bold in the acute sector to enable resource transfer of cash and healthcare staff to community based services.

It was also toward the end of 2016 that Health Secretary Shona Robison set out her vision on reform and direction of travel for the NHS in Scotland. It recognises that we must up the pace of change if we’re to deliver modern, sustainable health services and that local health boards and integration partnerships have an important role to play in taking this forward over the next year and beyond. This will mean a shift in resource allocation with substantially more money going to community health services to ensure more services and more care is delivered closer to home and when someone does require specialist care in hospital it is delivered in a centre of real expertise.

In NHSGGC we continue to forecast a break-even budget this year but only with the help of being able to use non-recurring reserves.

This in effect means we have to identify efficiencies for next year as well as a recurring solution to the “finance gap” we are carrying into next year…and identify how we can realign more resources away from acute and into community health and social care.

Our vision and plan for transformational change in our acute division will be published soon and we will work with all stakeholders and our staff to deliver this change programme as quickly as we can to ensure patients can access high quality and sustainable acute medicine.

The year ahead is a crucial one for our patients and for all of us within the NHS. Working together we need to continue the evolution of our health service to best use resources to meet population needs.

Comments/feedback to: [email protected]