Let me start this first blog of 2016 by wishing everyone in Fylde and Wyre a happy and prosperous New Year.

I was very proud to be part of a delegation that went to London in November for the Health Service Journal Awards ceremony, and while we did not win the ‘CCG of the Year’ category, we were extremely delighted to be one of six finalists and we sent our congratulations to the winners, NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.

The Government’s Mandate to NHS England for 2016/17 was published in December and is effectively the ‘operating instructions’ for the NHS and the CCG’s own priorities are very much in line with the national Mandate.

Also published in December was the Planning Guidance for delivering the NHS Forward View to 2021. This reflects the agreement between the NHS and the Government as set out in the Mandate. Fylde and Wyre CCG  is now working with colleagues in other local CCGs and care providers, including local authorities, to develop these plans.

Meanwhile Lancashire County Council continues to face considerable financial challenges and must make savings of more than £250million in addition to those previously agreed.

A number of budget proposals were agreed late last year by the Council’s cabinet and these have gone out to public consultation. The CCG is considering the budget proposals and will respond during the consultation.

Here at the CCG, we held a stakeholder event in December to update our partners on the progress we have made in developing new models of care and acknowledging the input and support of those stakeholders.

Also late last year I met with Mike Wedgeworth, the new chairman of Healthwatch Lancashire, and we explored areas of mutual interest and how we can work together effectively.

Finally, we were informed before Christmas that Gary Doherty, chief executive at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, will be leaving for a new post as chief executive at Betse Cadwaladr University Hospital Board, which provides a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services.

Gary has worked closely with the CCG since his appointment in 2013 and we wish him every success in his new role.