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INTERVIEW


“I have however recognised, and taken on board, the frustrations of those involved in ICPs who believe the commissioning process to be overly bureaucratic. ICPs as networks of providers supported by the Directorate of Integrated Care within the HSCB have, I suppose, challenged the mindset of the commissioner-provider split and that’s perhaps no bad thing”


Ms Watts says the views of ICP representatives have been articulated to her not only through the HSCB commissioning stocktake, but also through the recent DHSSPS survey of ICP committee members and opportunities she has had to speak to individual committee members:


“I am in absolutely no doubt about the level of commitment and enthusiasm of those involved in ICPs and that there is much to be commended about what has been achieved to date. Relationships have been built and there is a better understanding of the range of perspectives across the HSC; the opportunity to work with the third sector and with service users and carers has provided some new perspectives to support the development of more seamless pathways of care; and the tools and skills to effectively work together have been developed through a dedicated clinical leadership programme. I’m particularly pleased that this has encouraged some pharmacy representatives to take on leadership roles as committee chairs and for others to lead on developing new initiatives.”


“I have however recognised, and taken on board, the frustrations of those involved in ICPs who believe the commissioning process to be overly bureaucratic. ICPs as networks of providers supported by the Directorate of Integrated Care within the HSCB have, I suppose, challenged the mindset of the commissioner-provider split and that’s perhaps no bad thing. I view ICPs as very much an iterative process and I am certainly open to exploring the means by which we could move towards Local Commissioning Groups and ICPs having a greater level of delegated responsibility and accountability in the future.”


The implementation of proposals developed by ICPs, and agreed by Local Commissioning Groups, is now underway across all areas. A number


of service changes are now live including: a social prescribing pilot in the West; an integrated respiratory service in Belfast; a nursing home in reach service in the North; a social care response pilot in South East; and an expanded acute care at home service in the South.


“The efforts to date have all been worthwhile and many exciting and innovative ideas have been brought to the fore. The focus of ICPs is now the implementation of approved service changes over the course of the next year, along with ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to demonstrate change,” says Ms Watts.


Due to her background in local government and experience of community planning in Scotland, Ms Watts is keen to see the introduction of officials representing Northern Ireland’s 11 super councils on the 17 ICP committees:


“ICPs are already the closest example of collaborative working that reflects the qualities of community planning that I am familiar with from my experience in Scotland. I believe the introduction of community planning responsibilities within the new councils provides an opportunity to strengthen and formalise that. In September last year, I wrote to the CEOs of the then ‘shadow councils’ to invite the nomination of a council officer with a remit for health and wellbeing to join each of the ICPs within their locality. I understand the local ICP clinical and business support teams are now in discussions with councils to update on their work and to help with the identification of an appropriate council officer to join the ICP Committees.”


Looking forward, Ms Watts says there are increasing opportunities for pharmacy to play a leading role in the development of ICP care pathways:


“Medicines management is a key area we need to address - or, as NICE and the DHSSPS have recently highlighted, the need to optimise medicines. The


concept of medicines optimisation clearly aligns with ICP objectives and I believe pharmacists will have a huge role to play given that more and more medicines are being prescribed to people for long term conditions. Pharmacists will also be key to minimising risks associated with polypharmacy, reducing the overall pill burden and providing advice and support for patients to get good outcomes from their medicines.”


With over 84,000 prescriptions dispensed daily and 20,000 people visiting a community pharmacy every day in Northern Ireland, Ms Watts believes pharmacy plays a leading role in public awareness of health promotion messages and educating and encouraging people to think about how they use the health and social care service:


“I am encouraged to hear that many community pharmacies have committed to develop their staffs’ skills in providing additional health promotion activity and I would encourage the mantra of ‘making every contact count’ and supporting the key health and wellbeing messages which we need to promote to effect long term change in our population. Last year we also strengthened the self-care and pharmacy messages for the ‘Choose Well’ campaign and this will remain a key focus. Our research following last year’s campaign encouragingly revealed that 4 in 5 people would use a pharmacy for expert advice on a range of non-urgent health issues and 9 in 10 people agreed they were satisfied with the service received in pharmacies.”


For all the latest news on Integrated Care Partnerships: • Visit: http://www.transformingyour care.hscni.net/integrated-care- partnerships/ • Email integratedcarepartnerships@ hscni.net to join the mailing list to receive the ICP eZine • Follow the #ICPchange conversation on Twitter 


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