United we stand

Steve-Rowlands-2014_WEBWell the election has at last come and gone and we have a result that was somewhat surprising to many of us in terms of the overall majority.

One thing for sure is that public funding is going to be squeezed even more greatly and we are all going to have to tighten our belts and be more responsible and account for every penny we spend.

Austerity is upon us!

As a child I was always taught that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m in absolutely no doubt that the going is getting tough.

So what do the tough do to get going?

Wiltshire is fortunate. We are really well placed – the tough have already got going and our CCG’s five year plan is well underway; we are starting to realise the expected benefits as our plans are delivered on the ground.

The whole premise of our strategy is to keep and look after people at, or as near to their home as is possible. This means spending more money on primary and community care and getting more bang for our bucks, by integrating services at home where at all possible, so that we ultimately spend less money in secondary care.

This all sounds obvious , simple, and easy to achieve. Be in no doubt that to get as far as we have has taken a lot of negotiation, hard work, persistence, persuasion and collaboration with local colleagues.

There’s a lot of noise. We have interference from our political leaders telling us that General Practice has to work seven days a week, fully knowing that even in Wiltshire we have recruitment problems for GPs .

We have three main district hospitals which provide our secondary care services, similarly feeling considerable financial pressures, and we have a council which has to make dramatic service cuts due to decreased funding.

As this week’s episode of Bear Grylls’ “The island” perfectly illuminated: “Once the going gets really tough, the default position is to reflect inwardly, with teams starting to fall apart, bicker and argue, with detrimental effect”.

Now, more than ever, all of us in our CCG must stand united together with all our members and key partners so that we’re able to deliver the best health and social care for the people of Wiltshire. Let’s not lose sight of what we’re beginning to achieve on their behalf; now is our greatest opportunity to provide them with the health care services they deserve.