Birmingham and Solihull publish plan to improve health and wellbeing

Statement from Mark Rogers, System Leader, Birmingham and Solihull STP and Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council.

The NHS has been working in partnership with Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to develop a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Birmingham and Solihull.

The ultimate aim is for people, wherever they live, to lead fulfilling, healthy, independent lives, whilst being able to access the right early help as and when they need it, and for appropriate services to be available and easily accessible when people can no longer live independently.

The NHS in Birmingham and Solihull has a proud history of delivering high quality care to patients and families, and we have much to celebrate about our primary care, community and hospital based services. Local authorities have worked hard to transform social care services, focusing on supporting people to live independently for as long as is it is possible for them to do so.

Both health and council services are facing huge challenges. There are real concerns about the health and wellbeing of our communities, including the effects of poverty, obesity, diabetes, cancer and infant mortality. Like most of the country, it’s an increasing challenge to meet accident and emergency (A&E) waiting time targets, there are variable levels of GPs and nurses for the population size and collectively we aren’t as good as we’d like to be at getting people out of hospital and properly supported in their own homes.

Money is also very tight across the NHS and local government. It is getting harder for councils to continue to provide social care for adults, as budgets shrink and it is getting more difficult for the NHS to continue to meet the rising demand for all of its services from young and old, as people live with multiple conditions and more complex treatments become available. More also needs to be done to support people with mental health issues.

To put this into perspective, if we carry on running our services as they are now we would need an additional 430 hospital beds by 2020 just to meet demand. That equates to the size of a general hospital, and there simply isn’t the money to build that hospital and provide the staff to run it. More importantly, this isn’t the answer anyway because what’s needed is better community services that keep people well, independent and in their own homes.

This situation is set to get worse unless something changes, so organisations have come together in a way they haven’t before, with a real sense of commitment and purpose, to create a draft plan to transform the health and care system.  Everyone is clear that this is a real opportunity to do things differently, building a stable, sustainable, high-quality, efficient health and care system that works for the people of Birmingham and Solihull.

What is being published today is the draft submission to NHS England, the body which sets the priorities and direction of the NHS. It is not final and no decisions have been made about changing the way services are provided. It is a reflection of current thinking about what needs to be done to address the big gaps that exist in health and wellbeing, care, the quality of services and the financial situation. It proposes what could be done to improve and transform primary care, community care, social care, mental health, maternity and wider hospital services. It is a work in progress.

Now that a high level draft plan has been created, all organisations involved with the STP want to talk to those people who live and work in Birmingham and Solihull about how it can be improved and what needs to be done to make it happen. Those from local government and the NHS services working in partnership on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) will be running a number of events over the coming months to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, and we will keep you posted about where and when those will be.

In the meantime, if there is something in the plan that you want to tell us about, please get in touch via BsolSTP@nhs.net

For more information go to: www.birmingham.gov.uk/stp

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