Weekend Diagnosis: Building for the future on our strong foundations

6 October 2015

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

HELLO, my name is Mairead McAlinden, chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, a new integrated health and care organisation which, from October 1, brought together Torbay Hospital and Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust.

Both the trusts which have come together into this new care organisation have a well-earned reputation for high quality care and innovative ways of working.

There is a long history of staff working together across both trusts and with our local GPs, Torbay Council, and the community and voluntary sector to deliver good care and to tackle the issues which affect the health and wellbeing of people in Torbay and South Devon.

The potential is by coming together as one trust and through a very unique ‘risk share’ contract for care, we have the freedom to design and test new models of care which can better respond to the needs of our population.

Harnessing the energy and skills of the 6,000 staff who last Thursday became part of the new integrated care organisation, we can use the funding we receive — £350million per year — in a way more responsive and innovative, working for and with people to deliver care to better meet their needs, helping people maintain and improve their independence, supporting people to manage their conditions as expert patients, providing services locally where possible but centralising where that improves the safety, quality and efficiency of our care.

If we can make this happen, we can better manage the current pressures and increasing demand our hospital and community health and social care staff are facing — and struggling to cope with.

We have to move from spending most of our funding on reacting to urgent need to investing more money to provide planned and managed care that is delivered closer to local communities.

If we achieve this in Torbay and South Devon we will become a leader in the delivery of the new strategy for health and social care, but more importantly we will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of the people we serve.

Already there are examples of where these changes are happening on the ground, we are starting to turn the plan into a reality, seeing what works and rolling out the change as quickly as we can.

We also have teams already delivering integrated models of care at local level, but we must take the model which works best and do it everywhere, only by doing this can we hope to make an impact and better manage the ever increasing demand within the money we have.

This will not be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is. There is no proven blueprint we can pick up, no magic wand, we need to change a complete system and it will take at least three years to complete.

But I deeply believe we have the strongest of foundations to build on. I am really looking forward to working with the people of Torbay and South Devon to achieve something we can all be proud of and through this column share the successes along the way.


Weekend Diagnosis a fortnightly column published in the Herald Express discussing local health and care issues.

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