We have continued our partnership working with our neighbouring organisations on the Fylde coast and in Lancashire recently as NHS partners come together to develop more effective ways of working.

In January our Governing Body attended the first ever joint meeting with our counterparts at Blackpool CCG and the board of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This followed the first joint AGMs event last autumn.

It was an important step in developing better working relationships with our partners and our discussions focused on the creation of an accountable care system for the Fylde coast. While it is early days, I look forward to seeing these discussions develop into more joined up care for the whole Fylde coast population.

On a wider level Dr Tony Naughton, the CCG’s clinical chief officer, and I recently attended a meeting with Phil Watson, the independent chair of the joint committee of CCGs for Lancashire and South Cumbria. We briefed Phil on the CCG’s priorities and how we can contribute to the joint committee.

The joint committee is part of the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) and has so far met on four occasions. Its work will help shape how we move forward with making effective use of the resources on offer to NHS organisations across this footprint.

At a recent Public Accounts Committee hearing, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said between six and 10 STP areas were set to become ‘accountable care organisations or systems, which will for the first time since 1990 effectively end the purchaser-provider split, bringing about integrated funding and delivery for a given geographical population’.

The expected NHS Five Year Forward View Delivery Plan is likely to provide more information about this and will contain steps to strengthen the leadership and infrastructure for the STPs, such as initiating a formal appointment process for STP leaders, giving STP leaders the right to make recommendations about local organisational governance and providing a small amount of one-off funding as a contribution to STP operating costs.

Outside of our area, it is important to note the changes that have recently taken place in Cumbria. NHS England has approved boundary changes affecting NHS Lancashire North CCG and NHS Cumbria CCG.

On 1 April 2017 the new organisations – NHS Morecambe Bay CCG (covering the localities of North Lancashire together with South Lakes and Furness in South Cumbria) and a new NHS North Cumbria (covering the localities of Allerdale, Carlisle, Copeland and Eden) – were officially launched.