New Vision for ‘A Healthier Future’ for Hertfordshire and West Essex

Posted: December 13 2016

A wide-ranging plan to improve health and care in Hertfordshire and west Essex has been published.

New Vision for ‘A Healthier Future’ for Hertfordshire and West Essex

Called a ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ (STP), the Hertfordshire and west Essex publication ‘A Healthier Future’ brings together the challenges and opportunities that face NHS and care services in Hertfordshire and west Essex as they work together to improve health and wellbeing within the funds available.    

Tom Cahill, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation NHS University Trust, is leading the organisations working to deliver A Healthier Future for our area:

“In Hertfordshire and west Essex, we spend about £3.1 billion a year on health and social care.  Faced with increasing demands for services, we expect to have a funding gap of more than £550 million a year by 2021 unless we take action now to improve our own personal health and the way that health and care services work together.”

A Healthier Future highlights the key challenges facing Hertfordshire and west Essex, including:

  • A 37% predicted increase in the population of over-75s in the next 10 years. 
  • More older people and people living with long-term conditions means higher care costs
  • Obesity, smoking, alcohol and not enough exercise are all causing health problems
  • Recruiting enough doctors, nurses and care staff is difficult – high living costs make it hard to attract and retain people with the right skills 
  • Some patients are admitted to hospital who don’t need to be there, or stay in hospital for longer than necessary
  • Health and care systems and technology don’t always work together effectively
  • Some buildings are not fit for purpose. 

A Healthier Future sets out the four main ways in which NHS health and care organisations in Hertfordshire and west Essex plan to improve health and care in the area:

  • Helping people to live healthier lives, avoiding preventable illnesses
  • Improving the health and care services offered at home or in local communities
  • Using hospital care for specialist and emergency treatments only
  • Improving the efficiency of health and care services. 

In east and north Hertfordshire, NHS and care organisations have committed to working even more closely to provide high quality care, supporting patients who don’t need to be in hospital to be looked after in the community.   Elderly care specialists and experts in respiratory conditions will continue to support the area’s frail elderly people, including care home residents, to live as healthily as possible.

In west Essex, Deborah Fielding, Chief Officer, NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is the coming together of the vision we’ve developed with local residents and staff in west Essex over the last three years. We have already been advancing our programmes and services to provide care closer to home and in a much more integrated way with our council colleagues. Our neighbourhood programme sees primary, acute, community, mental health and the voluntary sector working together in a much more intuitive way.”

In west Hertfordshire,  the new plan builds on the changes being developed through the Your Care, Your Future programme which aims to offer people better co-ordinated care closer to home with a greater emphasis on prevention. Plans to modernise hospitals in Watford and St Albans will go hand in hand with increased tests, treatments and support in communities so that people receive less complex care locally and will only go to hospital for emergency and very specialist care.

Tom Cahill said: “Please take a little time to read A Healthier Future and have your say.  We can’t meet the health and funding challenges we face without everyone getting involved.  Making real change relies on us all taking more responsibility for our own health and wellbeing and we want to work with people of all ages to make sure that happens.”

To read more about A Healthier Future, click here

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