People living in the Black Country are being invited to share their views on health services to help update an NHS five-year plan.

In June 2023, the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) published the local NHS Joint Forward Plan, describing how NHS organisations in the Black Country will work together with other partners, including Local Authorities and the community and voluntary sector, to arrange and provide services to meet the needs of local people.

The following five priority areas were set out in the plan:

  • Priority 1- Improving access and quality of services
  • Priority 2- Community where possible – hospital where necessary
  • Priority 3- Preventing ill health and tackling health inequalities
  • Priority 4- Giving people the best start in life
  • Priority 5- Best place to work.

With the second year approaching, the plan has been updated and a sixth priority - ‘fit for the future’ - has been added. This is to recognise that the Black Country health system needs to change the way it works to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges it faces.

People in the Black Country are being asked to share their views on the updated plan to ensure it is still meeting the needs of local people and communities. The draft summary of the refreshed plan can be found here.

The public conversation is now open and will close on Wednesday 20 March. Local people can have their say in a number of ways, including:

Mark Axcell, Chief Executive Officer for the NHS Black Country ICB, said: “Last year we launched our five-year Joint Forward Plan which set out how the NHS will work together with other partners, including Local Authorities and the community and voluntary sector, to improve health outcomes, tackle inequalities and help support local communities to develop.

“As we move into the second year of our plan, it’s vital that we look ahead to ensure it is still fit for purpose and meeting the needs of our people and communities. The NHS as a whole in 2023/24 has experienced financial challenge, and the Black Country is no different. To reflect this, we believe the update to our plan should include a new priority to reflect the challenge we face and the work we will need to undertake to improve our finances on a long-term basis.

“We also need to ensure that we support our Places and providers to work better together, reduce the carbon footprint of the NHS and be more sustainable. All of this will require strong, sustainable leadership and enabling functions.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be holding conversations with our partners and giving local people an opportunity to let us know if there is anything we are missing as we refresh the document. I would encourage everyone to read the draft summary of our refreshed plan and let us have your views. This will help us in developing our plan, which will make a real difference to your health and wellbeing, and how you receive care.”

For more information about the Joint Forward Plan, visit the NHS Black Country ICB website here.

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