Pressure. A single word that reflects the state of our NHS in 2017 and the most fitting theme for our annual conference and exhibition.
Pressure is not just a negative phenomenon, though. It can also be an agent of change, driving transformation in the way care is delivered to ensure the sustainability of the NHS.
Pressure can also be an agent of change, driving transformation in the way care is delivered to ensure the sustainability of the NHS.Chief executive
The pressure is on to find long term solutions as trusts grapple with the toughest financial squeeze since the NHS was set up nearly 70 years ago. Demand is rising inexorably – reflecting the needs of a population that is living longer, but not living longer healthily. And after seven years of pay restraint, coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit, trusts face an uphill battle to recruit and retain the skilled NHS workforce that we need for the future. These challenges have now reached a tipping point.
The pressure is on to find long term solutions as trusts grapple with the toughest financial squeeze since the NHS was set up nearly 70 years ago.Chief executive
As we head into another busy winter, we have warned that capacity in the system is not at the level needed to manage patient safety risk effectively. We all remember the well-publicised pressures of last winter which, at its height, required the NHS to provide eight district hospitals worth of additional bed capacity. We have to look beyond winter and develop a long term funding and workforce strategy that ensures the NHS can deliver the world class care expected of it whilst preserving the core principle that is so globally admired – that this care is provided free at the point of use, based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
This year’s NHS Providers’ annual conference and exhibition at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on 7 and 8 November will shine a light on how providers are responding to these challenges. It will bring together more than 500 leaders and innovators on the front line of care delivery. More than 75% of our delegates are from the NHS, with 68% at director level or above, a higher proportion than any other comparable event in the healthcare calendar.
I’m pleased to say we have confirmed an excellent chair for this year’s event in broadcast journalist, Sarah Montague. Sarah will be questioning the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and conducting what we currently expect to be one of the first interviews with Jim Mackey after he’s stepped down as chief executive of NHS Improvement. We’ll also be bringing together some of the top opinion formers and healthcare journalists. The pressure on mental health services has been a key focus for us this year, and we’ll be dedicating plenary time to this key area within our programme of speakers. As always, I also look forward to delivering the opening address.
Three dedicated strand sessions will give delegates a chance to explore the issues and potential solutions in greater depth. As a membership organisation, we value the views of trust leadership and the feedback and input they provide should, rightly, shape the debate.
Workforce issues are now top of the NHS agenda. We will use our ‘Workforce’ strand to examine in detail what needs to happen to build a coherent national workforce strategy. Our lead session – bringing together leaders from the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England - will be an opportunity to feed into this important debate directly. We’ll be using the conference to launch a major report on NHS workforce issues, drawing heavily on the views of frontline NHS leaders.
We’ll be using the conference to launch a major report on NHS workforce issues, drawing heavily on the views of frontline NHS leaders.Chief executive
Money remains a pivotal issue for the NHS. The gap between funding and expectations of what the service can deliver continues to grow. Our ‘Money’ strand will explore solutions developed by providers to tackle this pressure. In these sessions we’ll consider the future of the provider tariff and explore the impact of the Carter drive for efficiencies.
Despite these pressures, trusts are continuing to transform the way they deliver care. Our ‘Quality’ strand will feature some of the improvement journeys member trusts have undertaken. We’re particularly pleased to have an in-depth session with Lesley Dwyer, who since 2015, as chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, has led a remarkable turnaround. The sessions will also shine a spotlight on some of the innovative partnerships continuously improving service delivery.
A centrepiece of this event remains the ‘Provider Showcase’, for a close up view of pioneering work carried out by trusts. This year, participants include Barts Health NHS Trust showcasing ‘We Can Talk’ – a co-produced children and young people’s mental health training initiative for staff. West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust will also be highlighting their ‘earn as you learn’ student paramedic programme.
A centrepiece of this event remains the ‘Provider Showcase’, for a close up view of pioneering work carried out by trusts.Chief executive
There is also a chance to continue the discussion informally at dinner following the first day of Conference. This is a great opportunity to unwind, and catch up with colleagues old and new across the sector. We’ve also lined up an inspiring after dinner speaker. Watch this space for further details.
Despite pressure, we are still achieving great things by innovating together as a sector. That is why events like this remain a fantastic opportunity to learn from each other, get creative and celebrate achievements. We very much look forward to seeing you there.
Bookings for the #NHSP17 are still open. Special rates are available for NHS Providers’ members, NHS, charity and public sector delegates. To find out more and register online, visit www.nhsproviders.org/2017.