Chris Mellor independent chairman Care Together programme board blog March 2016
29 March 2016


Hello and welcome to this month’s blog. It has been just over six months since I took up post with the Care Together programme, as the independent chair, and I would like to use this month’s blog to look back and reflect the work we have done so far.


You will recall that the Care Together programme we have constructed has two main pillars. They are: the Single Commissioning Board (SCB) and the Integrated Care Organisation (ICO). I’m pleased to report that we are making excellent progress with both of these projects. The SCB, made up of the local authority commissioning arm and NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group is now operational and based at New Century House in Denton. The SCB’s focus is to work out how best to spend the available money to improve health and care for the people we serve in Tameside and Glossop.

At present the money comes from Central Government via NHSE, in future it will be allocated to us by the new Greater Manchester organisation because NHS budgets are being devolved to them. Put simply the SCB decides what health and care outcomes it wants to see and the ICO’s job is to deliver those outcomes. Effectively, this is a contract between the two organisations. the SCB is the client and the ICO is the service provider.

As many of you will know a lot of work has been going on over the last six months to set up the ICO ahead of the transitional year starting on 1st April and it being fully operational from 1st April 2017.

Our concept of a new integrated model of care is now being designed in detail. There are four key work streams namely Healthy Lives, Localities (comprising five geographic areas), Urgent Integrated Care and Planned Care. Each work stream involves contributions from people with skills and experience from Primary Care, TMBC,THFT, the CCG and a number of Voluntary organisations.

On 1st April we reach a significant milestone in the development of the ICO. Over 700 healthcare professionals from over 30 different community teams will be joining Tameside Hospital NHS FT. This is the first significant step in the Hospital Trust beginning its transformation into an ICO, as it will in future offer much more than just hospital services. Another key milestone will be the announcement of what the ICO will be called. Over the past few months the hospital has been surveying their membership as well as acute hospital and community staff about what the ICO should be called. By mid-May, we will be in a position to announce this name to the world. The announcement will be part of a stakeholder event planned for 11th May 2016. The event aims to gather key stakeholders to update them on progress to date, to announce the name and to also launch the official engagement with staff, members of the public and other stakeholders around Care Together’s plans for health and care in Tameside and Glossop. A programme website will also be unveiled at the same event and this will act as a hub of information and resources for everybody.

Other important work we’ve been developing over the last six months include: a proposal to make significant investment in IT, so that we can work faster and more effectively across teams; we’ve also been looking at our local estate (the buildings we work in) and how we might best utilise the space we have available; and, last, but certainly not least, we have developed an organisational development strategy and a communications strategy – both of which are very important strands for Care Together.

We envisage significant investment in organisational development to help and support the talented people we have working across Tameside and Glossop. To adjust to the new ways of working, develop leadership and skills further and to create high performing teams..

The communications strategy spells out how we plan on reaching and engaging far and wide with our plans, ideas and messages, so that we can learn about people’s experiences with our current services to ensure that the new health and care services we develop locally are continuously improving and truly focussed on patients and their loved ones.

Every week I read something in Health and academic journals about how organisations should be moving towards “placed based care” and “integrated care” etc. The fact is we are not just talking about it.

There is no doubt in my mind we are at the forefront of integration in Health and Social Care and I am very much looking forward to working with you all to make further progress in 2016/17

Best regards