A bit about Dr Forbes Watson:
Dr Forbes Watson is Chair of NHS Dorset CCG and one of the clinical leads within the One Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS). He is also Vice-chair of the system partnership board and the Senior Responsible Officer for leading and working differently.
1. Integrated Care Systems have had some mixed press being associated with the Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) in the USA, but One Dorset has seen great success in the past year in reforming care for its patient population. What has been the key to its success to date?
Willingness to collaborate is key to One Dorset’s success. There needs to be clarity of vision and narrative across all parties involved with increased engagement between health and local authorities. For us, financial collaboration across healthcare organisations has been critical, with our local authorities involved in any discussions around finance. We recently confirmed a significant investment in community and primary care services. This £6 million recurrent investment is a long-term funding settlement against agreed outcomes, so we will need to demonstrate value based on improved population outcomes over time.
2. This must come with some formidable hurdles, what would you say are the main challenges you are currently facing within your role in driving forward Dorset’s integrated care strategy?
We’ve had several challenges during our transition towards becoming an integrated health and care system. The main challenges are ultimately balancing organisational sovereignty versus system need and aligning competing priorities against increasing financial pressures within the system. We also face additional challenges when trying to sustain business as usual while implementing service transformation. Maintaining focus and relationships between health and local authorities amidst background organisational change including local government reorganisation and possible a Trust merger is also difficult. We now face a judicial review hearing about some of our proposed changes.
3. One of the great successes you have had looks at reducing delayed transfers of care (DToCs) of patients from secondary care to the community. Can you tell us a bit more about what this has meant for your locality?
Having an integrated system has meant that we have been able to manage demand much more effectively. In Dorset we have implemented integrated hubs across a number of localities which has enabled us to bring primary, community, secondary and social care together in once place. The hubs allow us to better manage demand in and out of hospitals, creating a single point of access for patients to avoid unnecessary admissions. It’s all about people working together, particularly for community and social care with additional support from mental health.
4. You’ll be kindly sharing more about this as part of a keynote presentation and panel on the Commissioning for the Future main stage at the show this year. What is the one message you would like visitors to take away from your session?
We are better together – that is the message. Working together is key to moving forward. We need to create a clear vision and narrative and believe it too. Everyone needs to stay in the room despite the hurdles and challenges.
5. As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday this year, what would you say needs to happen to ensure it continues to deliver the best possible care for another 70+ years?
I strongly support the NHS. To sustain it, we need to focus more on population needs. We should be improving prevention instead of focusing on intervention. Most of all, we need to be having honest conversations with the public about prevention and their expectations of what the NHS can offer. Importantly, this narrative needs to also come from government.
6. What are you most looking forward to about the UK Health Show 2018?
The networking! This year will mark my third time at the show. It’s really a dynamic event and I am enthused by the breadth of the agenda. The diversity of the breakout sessions provides a wide range of topics across the board covering the four key themes of technology, commissioning, procurement and cyber security. You learn a lot, it works well, and my colleagues have also fed back the same in agreement.
Dr Forbes Watson will be speaking at the UK Health Show to deliver a keynote presentation on how to reduce DToCs which will be followed by a panel discussion on releasing capacity in primary and secondary care.
Join us at the show on the 25-26 September to find out more.
This interview conducted by Natasha Smith, Senior Programme Manager, UK Health Show