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E-scooters at a crossroads
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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Bell’

Five key takeaways: Engaging with ICS priorities panel session

WA was delighted to host a panel session with Dr Layla McCay, Director of Policy and NHS Confederation and Mike Bell, Chair of NHS South West London integrated care board (ICB) and WA Health Senior Adviser.  

At the session, WA’s Head of Health, Dean Sowman, explored Layla and Mike’s perspectives on how the life sciences industry can meaningfully engage with, and play a role in delivering integrated care systems (ICS) priorities. 

In light of a 30% cut to operating budgets and industrial action absorbing the bandwidth of executive teams, ICSs are currently heavily focused on short-term operational priorities. We have outlined five key factors to engage effectively against this backdrop:   

1. ICSs are delaying some action until the general election 

Whilst both the Labour and Conservative parties have communicated support and optimism for ICSs, the reality is that political uncertainty and operational pressures mean that many ICBs have little bandwidth to implement their ICB led five-year joint forward plan.  

Instead, ICSs are increasingly deferring important decisions until there is a stable administration which can ensure the preservation of essential funding and objectives. The overarching concern is that the exact vision of ICS working to respond to local population needs will be overshadowed by national pressures.    

Whilst this is a considerable challenge, the take home message for organisations looking to engage is the importance of timing the hope is that following the winter period, which is a particularly politically sensitive time, ICSs will have greater bandwidth to begin to implement their strategies.  

2. There’s no shortcut to engaging with all ICSs, and no one-size fits all approach 

When looking to secure policy changes, there is currently no shortcut to speaking to all 42 ICSs. We are starting to see some ICSs coalescing or developing strategic multi-ICB structures where some ICBs lead on certain workstreams on behalf of others. This trend is likely to become more commonplace – so engagement may become more streamlined in the future.  

For now, the best route to engage with multiple ICSs comes through existing forums, including NHS Confederation’s ICS network and NHSE’s Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) 

3. Medicines optimisation and management is a priority with positive examples needed  

One key barrier to ensuring medicines optimisation is that current financial models are created to show benefits to local service providers – some of which are not covered by ICS budgets. There needs to be an overhaul of where the service is delivered, where the money flows and where the savings are realised. While there is clarity on this being a problem – at present there is no solution.  

NHS Confederation would welcome examples of impactful collaborations between ICSs and industry as there is currently a shortfall of tangible examples.  

4. New evidence and ideas to support the delegation of specialised commissioning are welcomed  

The delegation of specialised commissioning to ICSs remains a concern. Prescribing budgets will remain with NHS England, but services deemed ready for integration will be delivered locally. There are outstanding questions as to whether individual ICSs are equipped with the right workforce and expertise, and what multi-ICB structures could be formed.  

This is especially pertinent in the case of rare diseases. Given their low prevalence in local areas, rare diseases are unlikely to be a core focus for ICSs, as evidenced by WA’s analysis which found that just five of the ICB five-year plans featured rare diseases.  

However, there is optimism that the transfer of specialised commissioning responsibilities offers the opportunity for a reset. If done right, it could ensure the repurposing of specialised commissioning budgets across the whole pathway, challenging local systems to reduce spend on tertiary services, and instead finding new ways to act earlier.  

5. Understanding where each ICS is placing strategic emphasis is critical 

Each ICS is at a different stage of maturity and there is distinct variation in size, scale and local characteristics, meaning a one-size fits all approach to engagement will not work. As a first step, understanding where you may wish to begin engagement and how to frame this in line with local priorities is essential. 

At the end of June 2023, 40 of the 42 ICBs had published their five-year joint forward plans setting out their strategic vision to tackle the health issues faced by their local population.  

To support industry, WA has undertaken an in-depth analysis of the plans to create an interactive map showing the level of priority each ICB is placing across 27 themes. Understanding the ICBs that are prioritising your areas of interest, can support you in identifying meaningful collaborations and partnerships aligned to an ICB goals. 

About WA Communications 

WA Communications is an integrated strategic communications and public affairs consultancy. Our specialist health practice supports clients across a diverse range of diseases at the intersection of policy, government affairs and communications, to achieve their strategic objectives. 

If you would like to discuss how to best work in partnership with Integrated Care Systems, and our analysis of their key areas of focus, contact Lloyd Tingley atlloydtingley@wacomms.co.uk. 

 

 

 

 

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NHS Leader Joins WA Communications Advisory Board

We are pleased to announce the appointment of NHS leader Mike Bell to our growing advisory board. Mike Bell brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the healthcare sector, having served in various senior roles within the NHS.

Mike is currently Chair of NHS South West London Integrated Care Board and Chair of Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust.

With over 25 years of NHS board level experience, including more than a decade on strategic health authority boards, including as vice-chair of NHS London, Mike brings a deep understanding of the healthcare landscape to his advisory role. Previously, he served as the Chair of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, playing a pivotal role in improving healthcare services in the Croydon area.

Our specialist health practice offers integrated services in public affairs, corporate communications, digital, research, and creative services. Current clients include life sciences companies including Sanofi, AbbVie and Roche, as well as charities and patient groups including Guide Dogs and Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Mike Bell’s appointment to the advisory board further strengthens our commitment to providing strategic counsel in the healthcare sector.

WA’s advisory board is chaired by Sir Philip Rutnam – former Permanent Secretary at the Home Office and Department of Transport, and founding Partner of Ofcom. It also draws together senior figures from the communications industry, Westminster, the media, and the health sector, including former CEO of Grayling UK Alison Clarke, and broadcaster & journalist Steve Richards.

Commenting on the appointment, Caroline Gordon, Partner and Head of WA Communications’ health team said,

“I am delighted to welcome Mike to our team. His extensive experience and strategic insight in the NHS and medtech sectors will be invaluable in delivering senior counsel to our clients in health and life sciences. WA is now even better equipped to navigate the complex and changing landscape of healthcare delivery and drive meaningful outcomes for our clients.”

Mike Bell added,

“I am delighted to be joining WA Communications at this exciting time. As a member of WA Communications’ advisory board, I look forward to using my experience from two decades in the healthcare sector to provide strategic guidance that helps clients partner effectively with the NHS.”

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