Chris Mellor independent chairman Care Together programme board blog January 2016
22 January 2016

Hello Chris Mellor here, independent chairman of the Tameside and Glossop Care Together Programme Board.


The Programme Board was set up jointly last year by NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG, Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to oversee the development and implementation of a single commissioner and Integrated Care Organisation for our area.

You will be hearing a lot more over the coming months about the aims and benefits we see for the Care Together programme so I won't go into detail, but from my perspective this one of the most exciting projects in the health and social care sector anywhere in the UK.

I say that based on my experience of being a chairman of a number of NHS organisations in different parts of the country and also being the deputy chairman for eight years of Monitor, the Health Service Regulator.

What makes it different?

What struck me when I first came to Tameside and Glossop in August 2015 was the high degree of alignment there is between the CCG, the Council and the Hospital Trust regarding a shared vision for health and social care in this part of the Country. Sadly, this is not always the case elsewhere.

You will hear a lot about strategies, integration and structures and processes etc. (all necessary), but if you boil it down, I think what we are actually doing is joining up the separate parts in the present system of NHS and social care provision, dismantling the artificial barriers that currently get in the way of high quality efficient care,  pooling and optimising the resources available to us and empowering you to take sensible practical decisions which best meet the needs of the people we serve. 

This will of course require our communication systems to be much better than they are now and that patients records are safely shared in future so they only have to tell their story once and that their continuity of care is assured.

Our Vision is that most care in future should take place in the home and/or community, that our urgent care system and hospital are as good as they can be, but that hospital visits should only be when necessary and as far as possible should be on a planned basis.

Over time, we will be increasingly focussed on prevention rather than cure and in helping people take responsibility for their own health and to lead longer and healthier lives. 

 None of this is particularly new in NHS and social care thinking. What's different, in my view is, we are making it happen!

We have done the high level planning, are confident our concepts are sound and are now moving into the mobilisation phase with a "shadow" year of operation from 1 April 2016, before we "go live" from 1 April 2017. 

Our approach from now onwards will be to involve as many people as we can the detailed design and implementation, because we know that there is no shortage of ideas in all our organisations about how we can improve the services we provide.

So what part you may ask, does the Programme Board play in all this?

Well over the last few months we have been working out at a high level what needs to happen by when, making sure directors and managers know who is accountable for delivery of what part of the programme.

We have to ensure that our ideas  are in line with those emerging from the Greater Manchester Devolution Project and from NHS England, are supported by the Regulators and that there is appropriate consultation on our proposals.

Also, our plans must result in our local health and social care economy being financially sustainable in the medium term and we have to get the investment we will need to transform our existing organisations and systems etc.

The Programme Board meets every month and someone suggested to me that you might be interested to hear what we discuss and decide each month from now on.

So here is my summary of our meeting last week and I will do a similar piece each month from now on:

Main topics - 14 January 2016 meeting.

Chairman’s report:

Update on activity and confirmation that our plans and approach are in line with the latest NHS planning guidance for 2016/17 to 2020/21 issued in December and with the Greater Manchester Devolution plans.

Programme Director’s report:

Progress report on the transfer of community services from Stockport FT to Tameside from 1st April involving circa 600 people. There’s a lot to do but so far, so good.

Price Waterhouse Coopers helping prepare the business case for transitional funding to go to GM Devo by 31 January 2016. On track.

Shadow Single Commissioning Board held its first meeting 12 January 2016. The aim is to co-locate teams in New Century House, Denton in February.

Decisions Taken:

Agreed Terms of Reference for a number of workstreams for the proposed new models of care i.e. Healthy Lives, locality development, planned care, urgent care and also the legal mechanics of setting up the new Integrated Care Foundation Trust.

Agreed a new Risk Stratification Policy which will enable us to determine those people in most need of care.

Agreed the forward plan - February Board will consider plans for the communication strategy and for our proposed new information management and technology strategy.

I hope you find this useful and I will be happy to respond to any queries you may have as the programme progresses either in person or by email:

Chris Mellor.