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AGM reflects on extraordinary year and the challenges of the next 12 months

The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups held a unique Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week.

It gave a direct opportunity for members of the public to ask about the performance of NHS services and future priorities.

Usually the six CCGs hold separate AGMs. However, this year it was decided to hold a joint AGM using Microsoft Teams on the afternoon of Thursday 24 September 2020.

Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the CCGs said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in today’s meeting. It was certainly welcome to have members of our public back in the virtual room.

“This was a real opportunity to discuss the last 12 months and talk about our priorities moving forwards.

“I think we can all agree that the last 12 months have been unprecedented for the NHS, and that the forthcoming year will also present challenges which need to be addressed. I am confident that in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent we have the people to meet these challenges head-on.”

The meeting was addressed by the six CCG Chairs: Dr Gary Free for Cannock Chase; Dr Rachel Gallyot for East Staffordshire; Dr Alison Bradley for North Staffordshire; Dr Shammy Noor for South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula; Dr Paddy Hannigan for Stafford and Surrounds; Dr Lorna Clarson for Stoke-on-Trent.

The meeting heard about a clinical focus on enabling greater use of digital services in primary care through ‘Total Triage’, the use of phone and online services for people to still access services from general practices and One Health and Care.  This is a confidential digital shared care record for people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and allows doctors, nurses and other registered health and social care professionals directly involved in patient care to view relevant information in order to provide better and safer care.

Dr Bradley outlined the advances being made in mental health services, but also how the health system is responding to the extra challenge presented by COVID.   Looking to winter Dr Steve Fawcett, GP and Medical Director for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent gave an update on the importance of this year’s flu immunisation programme, the most ambitious in NHS history, with a target of roughly doubling the number of people to be immunised.

More than 80 attendees watching live also heard about the plans for the three localities, North, South East and South West for the future.

Finally, there were questions from the public:

The first question asked around the CCGs’ financial position and how there was an overspend in the 2019-2020 and how into 2020-2021 so far there is not?

Chief Finance Officer Paul Brown explained how the financial system the NHS works in has changed due to COVID-19 but also inefficiencies being made across the health system.

Another question was asked around what is being done to improve health through lifestyle changes?

Craig Porter, Managing Director of the South West locality explained a number of different programmes which are available for people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent like ‘One You’ and help for vulnerable people over winter.

A member of the public asked about the findings of the ‘Difficult Decisions’ conversations which took place earlier this year be made public?

Marcus Warnes explained how the exercise had been paused due to COVID-19 but the findings would be published shortly after they have been shared with the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

More questions were asked and you can view these, and the entire meeting on the CCG websites