NHS England have recognised the significant rapid improvement made at Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford and Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) by lifting the legal directions that have been in place across the organisations.
Over the last 12 months the two CCGs have made improvements in the governance and leadership of the organisations and financial management within the CCGs and across the wider health system.
The CCGs were placed in legal directions in July 2018 after finishing the financial year with significant deficits. Legal directions means a CCG is given additional support by NHS England and has less control over the decisions and the work it carries out.
The lifting of directions comes just 10 months after Adam Doyle took over the leadership of the organisations. He has been working as a shared Chief Executive with the other six CCGs across Sussex and East Surrey since January, along with a joint Executive Team, five of which have had legal directions lifted over the last two years.
In addition to the lifting of the legal directions at the CCGs, system partners East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been taken out of financial special measures in recognition of the continued significant improvements made at the Trust. In June 2018, the Trust was taken out of special measures for quality of services.
The system-wide improvements have been achieved following a new joint approach that was adopted as part of the national work to integrate NHS England and NHS Improvement. The NHS South East region worked with the CCGs and Trust together, rather than individually, to help stabilise the financial position and, as a result, the shared deficit was reduced, the financial targets for 2018-19 were met and a shared financial plan was developed for the next five years.
Dr Martin Writer, Clinical Chair of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, and Dr David Warden, Clinical Chair of Hastings and Rother CCG, said: “This is extremely positive for our CCGs and the wider system and reflects the hard work that has been undertaken to improve how our organisations work for our populations. To be taken out of legal directions so quickly is a significant achievement and puts us in a stronger position to work more effectively and address the challenges we face. We are confident we can continue the improvement journey we are on as we look at how we can commission more effectively for our populations in the future.”
Adam Doyle said: “I’m really pleased for everyone involved because I know how hard they have worked to make this happen. The significant progress we have made across both our local and wider system has been down to greater collaboration between partners, strong leadership and, most importantly, a real collective focus on making improvements for the people we serve. We recognise there are still areas that need further improvement but we are now in a much better position to focus on them and continue to build on the positive work we have achieved.”
Anne Eden, Regional Director South East, said: “The direction of travel for the NHS is clear. Locally, organisations must work together if they are to transform services for patients in the way the NHS Long Term Plan describes. The scale of the financial challenge in East Sussex was significant. Adam Doyle, Chief Executive Officer of the CCGs and Dr Adrian Bull, Chief Executive of the trust, have shown the difference working together can make. Strong financial planning and management will lay the foundations to help deliver the ambition of the Long Term Plan in East Sussex.”