Honest conversations held at Annual Members meeting

In the recent annual members meeting for CPFT, members openly explained their concerns for the Trust and also their ideas of how things could be improved.

In an open and frank round table discussion with directors, governors, staff and members asked questions, challenged and celebrated the work of the Trust.

Key themes that rose from those discussions were:

  • Finances – if we are all in deficit, are we looking at how the whole NHS in the county is run? It is too complex.
  • Concerns about the county being split in two and how the Trust works with that concept when many of its services are county wide.
  • NHS recruitment is the biggest problem but also the biggest opportunity.
  • We must know how to listen to the community and understand their concerns otherwise how do we know that we are doing the right thing?
  • Movement for care is too long in this county – it takes time and effort that can be damaging
  • Technology can be great but what if you don’t have computers? And let’s not lose that face to face interaction
  • The NHS is made of many organisations but it should care like one.

Although not all answers could be given, some concerns were addressed by the Executive team.

Michael Smillie, director of Strategy and Support Services explained in a presentation:

“We met and exceeded our cost saving plans last year and we must now build on this. We had a deficit last year which we must decrease – our cash reserves that we have depended on until now will not last so we must take responsibility and make savings where we can.

“Strategic programmes such as better care together in the couth of the county and the Success Regime in the north will help us to do this by making services more integrated and reducing duplication.”

He also explained, as is expected, our biggest cost has been staff with around three quarters of the budget spent on staff and most of that on front line service staff.

Dr John Howarth gave a whistle stop explanation of the main strategic programmes that the Trust is involved in – the Success Regime in West, North & East Cumbria, Better Care Together in the south of the county, the county wide mental health strategy and the county wide children and families strategy.

He explained:

“Regardless of which plan we are talking about we believe that placing healthcare at the heart of communities is the key to improving the health and wellbeing of people in Cumbria.  We look after some of the most vulnerable people in society and we have championed these groups in our discussions. It’s not just about the hospitals.

“We need to design a system that delivers much more care outside of hospital; all of these strategies include this. We need to develop integrated health and care teams that work with mobilised communities so we can deliver far more care locally.”

Lynn Marsland, director for Workforce and Organisational Development, explained that the Trust is working on a ten point plan for recruitment that is looking at innovative ways of addressing the recruitment problem that for some roles is not only county wide but nationally. She said:

“Recruitment is a big part of the large strategic programmes that are taking place. The Trust is doing a lot at looking at the recruitment issues now but also at how we tackle recruitment long term – this includes working with universities, schools and colleges to encourage and support  programmes that will help the county ‘grown our own’. If we can do this alongside other health organisations in the county it will benefit the whole health economy of Cumbria.”

In closing Mike Taylor, Chairman of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I think that from the presentations and the discussions that we have had to day that we can say there is a lot going on in health in Cumbria at the moment. This can feel a little bit scary for some people but we must take the opportunity while we can to change things for the better using these programmes of work. In order for us to do this effectively we need to work with communities and make sure their voice is heard. I hope as members you encourage this and I hope that all our governors can be used effectively to make sure that the little voices and well as the loud voices are heard by this Trust.”

Key themes from the round table discussions

Annual Report and Accounts 2015/16

Summary Annual Report