NHS: Introductory meeting with Ingrid Barker, Chair of the Trust

On Tuesday I met with Ingrid Barker, Chair of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, via video-conference. I was welcomed to the Trust and we had a wide-ranging discussion about the Trust, its activities and the relationship between it and other NHS bodies.

I will not be sharing too much detail as to the details of the discussion, however, the broad themes are as follows. I’ve also included additional information from the NHS website and other sources, in particular when talking about Integrated Care Systems, where applicable for additional information.

Integrated Care Systems

The transition from NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to the new-format Integrated Care Team for the county, when this will take place and how the new body is made up. This will be the new commissioning body for healthcare taking over the responsibilities from the CCG and will have additional new responsibilities.

Integrated Care Teams will be partnerships of organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up health and care services, and to improve the lives of people who live and work in their area.

The partnerships will involve the NHS (hospitals, community, GPs), local councils (Gloucestershire County Council), community and voluntary organisations, local residents, people who use services, their carers and representatives and other community partners with a role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the population.

Equality and Diversity

When I decided I wanted to become a Governor for Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, I said I wanted to particularly focus on barriers to healthcare faced by LGBTQI+ individuals and people from the GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Traveller) communities. Myself being a member of both.

I’m happy to hear that a huge amount of effort has already been put in to diversifying the Trust and the Council of Governors. Making sure nobody, regardless of their background or characteristics, slips through the gaps is a core and shared value between Ingrid, the Trust and myself.

Healthcare for Young People

As most of us are aware, the pandemic has had a huge impact on both the physical and mental health of people of all ages. The mental health of young people has been particularly badly impacted. The Trust is emphasising this as we move forward. There is work to do on catching up other youth healthcare issues such as vaccinations and other routine treatments missed due to the pandemic.

I’m keen to watch this area closely, as a 21 year old, and currently the youngest board member. Hopefully I’ll be joined by another young person soon as the Trust looks at finding an appointed Governor from a third-party youth organisation.

Lydney and Dilke Community Hospitals

The community hospitals in the Forest of Dean were a highly contested issue back in 2017 and 2018. The decision has been made, and work commenced, on a new community hospital for the whole district in Cinderford. This is what the future of healthcare will now look like for Foresters.

Some of you may be aware of my involvement in the campaign, HOLD, to stop this from happening in 2018, but this is now what is happening and I can see why the future is a new facility. I’m keen, however, to ensure that the two original sites, built by the community who care deeply about them, are maintained as public assets and are put to use in the most beneficial way possible.

What happens to these sites is in the control of GH&C NHS Foundation Trust. The future for them is not yet decided, however background discussions with a range of organisations, including Councils and charities, have been taking place. Ingrid has assured me that the sale of sites, especially ones such as these, are not done on a ‘goes to the highest bidder’ basis. They are carefully assessed based on the most benefit to the surrounding community.

I’ll watch this very closely and encourage local councils, charities or other public benefit organisations to consider if they could use these facilities for a project that benefits the people of their respective towns and preserves these much-loved buildings.

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