Agenda item

Matters Arising from the Minutes



Request that NEAS attend a future meeting of the Joint Committee to provide an update on the work of NEAS and the challenges it is facing.


It was confirmed that representatives of NEAS would attend the next meeting on 21 Jan 2019 to provide a presentation on the above.


Data re Impact of Brexit

Request that Dr Groen attend future meeting of OSC to provide information on data related to specific worker groups and groups other than EU nationals/ information on staff due to retire within those groups plus areas of risk to staffing levels in particular specialities (other than cardiovascular surgery which has already been highlighted).


Dr Groen confirmed he would attend the meeting on 21 Jan 2019 and provide this additional information as part of the proposed update on Workforce scheduled for that meeting.


Workforce Communications Update

Councillor Flynn had queried how proposals to move clinicians around the region could be communicated so that it would not seem a negative move as there may be concerns that such moves might destabilise provision in a particular area. 


The Committee was informed that there is no one perfect way to communicate and it was recognised that the large and diverse workforces will have different communications needs and preferences.  There was a need to ensure that the narrative and communications relating to the wider health and care challenges, opportunities and changes were as good as they could be for our local populations and workforces.


The Committee was advised that where there is a need to move clinicians or any staff, it would be important to be clear about the reasons for this and what it was hoped and expected that the changes in working practices would achieve in terms of delivery of services and benefits to patients, always taking account of the whole picture and the views of clinicians and those working in services.  Where there is a need to formally consult, then this will take place with engagement with relevant trade unions.


Councillor Flynn had also heard that individuals wishing to train as paramedics had a year training but then had to do two years unpaid work experience and he had queried how this would encourage individuals into the workforce.


The Committee was informed that there is currently a two - year diploma course, which employees of NEAS can undertake while continue to work with NEAS. Alternatively, for people outside of NEAS considering a career in the ambulance service, the route now is to undertake a three-year degree course as a university student and this is the same pathway as nurses.


The Vice Chair, Councillor Taylor had previously highlighted IT as the biggest barrier to cross working over NHS sites but acknowledged that work on the Great North Care Record might assist with this and had asked for further information on this for the Committee.


The Committee was advised that in the last few weeks we have appointed Graham Evans as the Chief Digital Officer for our STP / ICS work.  This is one of the areas of work he and other colleagues will be addressing and if the Committee wished Graham could be invited to provide an update to the Committee on this work at a future meeting.


Councillor Spillard and Councillor Hetherington had raised concerns that NHS Communications teams are being left to choose whether or not to share syndicated articles for workforce.


The Committee was advised that in response to the serious concerns raised the recommended approach will now be to expect consistent use of messages and resources provided across all organisations.


The Committee had also previously requested that front line staff be invited to the workforce workshops and the voluntary and community sector and Healthwatch organisations.


The Committee was advised that work is taking place with local system leaders and colleagues in each ICP area to ensure that there is a good mix of staff present and with a particular focus on front line staff. 


The Chair stated that the Committee had been particularly concerned to ensure that Healthwatch was involved and would like some reassurances that this would happen. The Committee was advised that this issue would be picked up in the update on communications on engagement and empowering communities.


It was noted that Councillor Mendelson had previously expressed disappointment at finding no reference to NEAS in the Find Your Place Campaign and considered this should be included.


The Committee was advised that it was hoped that it would be possible to expand the Find Your Place campaign but, as yet, it had not been possible to secure the resources to do this.  If the resources were obtained to expand the campaign, then NEAS, other services and a broad range of professions across health and care would be included.


Councillor Robinson noted that workforce was a major concern in Durham with many GP practices losing staff and they were setting up a working group to look at this. In addition, Councillor Robinson understood that dentists were closing services and specialised services such as cardiology and oncology were losing staff. Councillor Robinson considered that there major workforce issues in relation to GPs and nurses and he wanted someone to come back to the Committee to update on what was being done in relation to this.


Mary advised that she would take back this request with a view to this being addressed at a future meeting.


The Chair informed the Committee that Healthwatch had written to her to ask whether it would be appropriate to rename this Committee and review its remit.


The Chair noted that currently the position in the NE and Cumbria is that we are an aspirant ICS and NHS colleagues are working towards having a Shadow ICS in place for April 2019 so there is nothing formal in place to lead us to alter structures at this time.


However, the Chair considered that it would be timely for the Committee to receive an update at the next meeting on progress in the development of the ICS and what this means for the delivery of services. The Chair noted that this Committee had not yet received any information on any potential service changes or timeframes as to when such matters would be considered by the Committee and considered that it would be helpful for the Committee to be updated on this at its next meeting and she suggested rearranging the Committee’s work programme to facilitate this.


Councillor Spillard stated that she was concerned about who was in charge of the budgets and making the decisions within the aspirant ICS and felt that this needed clarifying.


Councillor Spillard felt that this Committee was not having any input into the decision making around the aspirant ICS and felt that when the Committee received information on issues related to the ICS it was too late to have any impact. Councillor Spillard stated that she would like the Committee to receive more information on how it was proposed the Shadow ICS would be run / governed.


The Chair also advised the Committee that she understood that NHS England was going to be establishing a new regional structure and so it would also be helpful to understand how this new structure, when established, would fit with the Shadow ICS.


Councillors Mendelson and Schofield considered it would be helpful to have an update on the ICS and revisit the focus of the Committee.


The Committee agreed to alter the work programme to allow for an update on the development of the ICS to be provided at the next meeting.