Louise Watson has been Managing Director of the Bucks ICS – the Integrated Care System – since February. She talked to Healthwatch Bucks about her first 8 months in the job.
Louise Watson has an exciting but tough job. She’s the Managing Director of the ICS; the system bringing about more joined-up working in the health and care services across the county.
“It’s been an equal mix of good times and frustrations”, she told us. However, she’s confident that the new system will provide real benefits. She’s worked in different parts of the NHS for 25 years, so she understands how it works and what could be done better.
Louise lives in Buckingham so this new role was an ideal one for her. She has been able to put into practice the ideas for new care models which she worked on in her previous job; she was director of the national NHS programme working on new models of care.
She’s clearly happy to back in her own county and is pleased by the high level of cooperation between the six NHS and local government organisations. They have come together to help people have the right care at the right time and in the right place.
The Progress So Far
Louise is highly ambitious, but down-to-earth and realistic in her approach. She is pulling together services that work together into a joined-up system and has to balance the different priorities and interests of the six partners. She is also helping find ways forward for the system as a whole.
One of the early changes for many people came this month with extra hours of service at doctor’s surgeries. Better access to GPs should help our hard-pressed emergency services.
There’s also been progress in other services which we have reported in recent months. This includes prevention programmes, improvements in diabetes care and mental health care. As well as a community nursing project for over 75s.
Change on this scale was never going to be easy. As Managing Director, Louise has to steer the new system through a number of big challenges.
Right now, Bucks ICS is a ‘shadow’ system. That means it has to deal with a few big issues before it becomes a fully live system. It has to do better on cancer care, A&E waiting times and finances.
Louise is confident that the cancer targets can be met. Financial recovery and A&E waiting times are going to be tougher. There’s a lot of work going into agreeing how to get best value for money. But still providing the services we all need and expect.
At the heart of all the changes is a commitment to putting each individual at the heart of everything. This is being done by developing the best ways to deliver services across the county and in each of the seven local areas for which planning teams are in place.
At Healthwatch, we want to ensure that people have a chance to give their views on the changes and Louise knows that we’re here to help that happen.
Let us know what you think about these changes. You can comment below, or get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 0845 260 6216.