Senior health leaders from South Africa visit Millom

A group of senior executives from South Africa visited Millom Hospital recently to learn about how the community and the NHS are working together. The group, responsible for delivering healthcare to 9 million people in the Johannesburg area, are on a study tour with the North West Leadership Academy.

Guests included representatives from hospitals in South Africa and officials from their Department of Health.

Nokwethema Mtshali, acting CEO at Bertha Gxowa Hospital said:

“The work being done here in Millom is amazing and shows that a strong community backing goes a long way.”

In an open discussion the Millom Alliance were asked what challenges had been experienced when working with the community and how these were overcome.

Jenny Brumby, from the Millom Alliance, spoke to the delegation on behalf of the community saying: “When we were experiencing challenges in Millom, such as a lack of GPs and the temporary closure of the hospital, it made sense for the community to be a part of the solution and work with the NHS.  I think it has been effective as everyone is open, the communication is transparent and all decisions are made together.”

Pauline Preston from Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust (CPFT) added:

“We were delighted to host this visit and I am proud of what we have achieved together in Millom. It is remarkable how far we have come in just a year. ”

The visit involved a tour of Millom hospital and a presentation given by Dr John Howarth, Director of Service Improvement and Deputy CEO for Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust and Dr Charlotte Hattersley, GP for Millom.  

Within the presentation they explained how Millom and the 5 year strategy for Morecambe Bay called Better Care Together were examples of a population approach to healthcare. This means that every member of society has a role to play in improving their healthcare both in primary and secondary care settings. 

Karen Kyle, Assistant Director (Strategy & Contracting) at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The contribution that the Millom Community has made to the Millom Alliance is significant, and has enabled us to progress at pace, by working together in an open and joined up way.”

The visitors took extensive notes and commented that this approach to population healthcare - working closely with mobilised communities would shape their future thinking on how they deliver care in their part of Johannesburg.