Agenda item

Oxfordshire Place-based Partnership Update

For information: To consider a report setting out an update on major changes to the way in which health and care is organised in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire following the establishment of an Integrated Care System, (ICS), Integrated Care Partnership, (ICP) and Integrated Care Board, (ICB).


The Partnership considered a report updating them on the major changes to the way in which health and social care is organised in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West following the establishment of the following: an Integrated Care System, an Integrated Care Partnership, an Integrated Care Board and the Oxfordshire Place-based Partnership. Dan Leveson, Place Director for Oxfordshire and the representative of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board on the Future Oxfordshire Partnership, introduced the report – he also responded to any questions and comments.


Mr Leveson highlighted that the 2022/23 winter period was widely regarded as the toughest winter in the NHS’ history with unprecedented levels of demand for services and severe capacity constraints. Working together, the NHS, local authorities and other stakeholders tried to effectively mitigate the worst of the issues facing the health and social care system, for example, by the provision of additional care packages to enable more people to have their needs met in their own homes rather than in a hospital setting.


The draft Integrated Care Partnership Strategy, which seeks to identify priorities to respond to issues such as winter pressures and the cost-of-living crisis, is currently out for consultation. Several workshop events, including with the Oxfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board, have been organised to feed into this work. It was stressed that the creation of good relationships between all parties in the Integrated Care Partnership was a key priority. This would not only help in the identification of actions that could be better delivered jointly but also create new ways of working together that would be more effective.


In discussion, Professor Fitt stressed the importance of the workforce across the various sectors of the health and social care system in successfully delivering the type of desired outcomes highlighted. While a high proportion of the posts required to affect these changes needed at the very least undergraduate degree level qualifications, there appeared to be no mention within the report of education at school, further education or university level. He stated that without the input and cooperation of the education sector it would be difficult to achieve the skilled workforce that would be required.


In response, members were informed that many areas of NHS workforce planning were undertaken at either a national or regional level and was, therefore, not within the direct remit of a place-based partnership. However, how it linked into education was important.


Professor Fitt, while acknowledging the national and regional aspects of workforce planning, nevertheless, highlighted the importance of local organisations in the training of doctors and nurses. He highlighted that their education could not take place without placements organised by further and higher education institutions within Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West. Professor Fitt, therefore, suggested that within these new partnership arrangements there was a significant opportunity for collaborative work to be undertaken in this area and that the importance of the workforce and education should form a central part of the new strategy. Mr Leveson recognised these points and suggested that it could be picked up at the integrated care partnership level.


After reminding those present of her declared non-pecuniary interest as an employee of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Councillor Susan Brown raised the unaffordability of housing within Oxfordshire as a key constraint on the recruitment and retention of workers across all economic sectors (and in particular amongst those employed in health and social care). Due to the negative impact that this issue has on the county’s economy, a system wide response was, therefore, required. Further, it was known that inequalities in health were exacerbated by poor housing. Consequently, it was necessary to provide more housing across Oxfordshire and in particular more affordable housing.


Councillor Brown also stressed the importance of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board inputting into the local plan processes of the city and district councils. She suggested that this might include submissions regarding the location and provision of primary and secondary care facilities – this would enable local authorities to take account of the health needs of their populations. It was also proposed that this could also potentially be a subject that the Planning Advisory Group could investigate/examine.


When replying, Mr Leveson commented that the lack of affordable housing for key workers was recognised by the NHS as barrier for the recruitment and retention of staff across the entire region. He acknowledged the need for the Integrated Care Board to engage with the local plan processes – the role and purpose of these were now better understood across the NHS and, therefore, Mr Leveson hoped that he would be better able to facilitate cooperation in this area.


The Chair provided an example of how a council might consider a planning application for an urban extension where it was important for a council to have an awareness of the implications of the development on local health needs and capacity.


RESOLVED: That the report be noted. 

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