The role of health in place-based leadership | Dr Phil Richardson

Phil Richardson

As integrated care systems continue to develop a closer working partnership between the NHS, local authorities and other organisations that deliver health and wellbeing services, Dr Phil Richardson, chief system integration officer at NHS Dorset CCG, observes there is a real opportunity to also play a role in supporting economic growth.

A sense of community is created not only by good health and wellbeing but also by having a real sense of worth, and that comes from an ability to contribute positively to society. A key part of this is meaningful, local, employment.

To be able to work as an integrated care system one needs to do more than just bring the NHS and local authorities around the same table. It needs to bring together everything that defines, shapes and helps build a community. This includes transport, education, housing, industry, leisure, infrastructure, public sector, voluntary sector, third sector, community groups and arts and culture.

And that is why, in Dorset, we are engaging with several key groups that relate to our community. Our roles have changed as we focus more on ‘place’. As a director of the CCG and a member of Dorset ICS system leadership team, I sit on the board of the Wessex Academic Health Science Network and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. I also chair the boards for digital, research and planning. Other members of the team play equally key roles in health and wellbeing boards, the Public Sector Forum, Bournemouth University and system boards for quality, workforce, finance, networks, and delivery partnerships. We all still retain our organisation accountabilities.

We are also actively engaged with the local arts and culture organisations and will be partnering to create a health and wellbeing festival. Building on the wellbeing aspects, we are developing ideas with the Dorset Local Nature Partnership and engaging with research groups at Bournemouth University who are focused on wellbeing research that can be applied locally. Last week we formally launched our partnership with Bournemouth University and as part of this collaboration we have set an ambitious agenda to create a digitally enabled community-centred medical school, a big data county-wide living laboratory and integrated Research Active Dorset, which is a single research and innovation function for Dorset. All designed to grow our own local workforce and to attract inward investment in to Dorset’s economic growth. With the changes we are making as part of our system-wide Clinical Services Review we are looking at a £1 billion opportunity.

Closer working with the Dorset LEP is a critical component of our strategy. We are currently working on a health deal that brings together all aspects of health. This is much wider than the NHS. The local ambition is to double the economic output and to deliver 80,000 new jobs. This will be enabled by a workforce that is both healthy and has good wellbeing. Currently the health and care workforce in Dorset is approximately 45,000 people which means we are looking at a total of over 120,000 people if we include new jobs and those involved in improving health and care. 

By working with the Dorset LEP in a committed way we have set our combined ambition to make Dorset an attractive place for Dorset residents to set up and grow businesses. We aim to create a place that encourages partnerships across many organisations, one that develops opportunities for younger people to grow their careers within the county. We also want to make innovative businesses know Dorset is an attractive place to set down their own roots. This is already starting to happen.

We believe our unique combination matters. We have started a journey of system integration that is about Dorset. We have a leading integrated care system, a dynamic university that is able to integrate with our strategic plan, alignment around research and innovation and shared roles with the LEP, the university and system partners. This coupled with one system leadership team, one operations and finance team, one digital team, one clinical team, one workforce team and one partnership board all working to one agreed strategic plan for health and wellbeing makes Dorset a fantastic place to live and work.

To keep everyone focused I keep saying that this plan is all about me, my family, my friends, my community, the place I live and work. I encourage them to think the same. And if that wasn’t enough motivation for everyone, as I write this I can see the beach.

Welcome to Dorset.

Dr Phil Richardson is lead director at Dorset ICS and chief system integration officer at NHS Dorset CCG. Follow NHS Dorset CCG on Twitter @DorsetCCG

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