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Christmas message to members

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Message from the Trust Chair, Paul Devlin

Well, what a year it has been! 2017 has flown and, with the prospect of just a few days left until Christmas, I can hardly believe it. While, like many, I’m ready for some quality time with family and friends, I do not feel well-prepared at all. In the midst of work commitments it’s sometimes a struggle to spare a few moments to write Christmas cards and think about gifts (let alone find the time to buy them).

It has been a very busy year for the Trust, one highlight being the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit in April. Thanks to the hard work of our staff and support from members, governors, service users and carers we improved our overall rating to Good, while services for children and young people were again rated as Outstanding. This would not be possible without our collective passionate focus on delivering the very best patient care and actively responding to feedback we get from patients and our partner organisations.

This year we have introduced a number of new services including the Hartsholme Centre, a 10-bed male Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit which provides care closer to home for people at their most vulnerable. Just this week we have also opened a pilot assessment area called the Psychiatric Clinical Decisions Unit. This is the next step in our efforts to reduce the numbers of people who have to go out of Lincolnshire to receive hospital care. The unit will greatly enhance patients’ experiences by ensuring that people are only admitted to hospital when absolutely necessary. Additionally, it will reduce the impact on other local services such as Accident and Emergency.

Children and young people can now access help earlier thanks to Healthy Minds Lincolnshire. This new emotional wellbeing service started in October with support from the local authority and other partners. It has already helped hundreds of young people to manage their difficulties before they develop into mental health problems.

The festive period can often be difficult. For example, we may feel increased pressure to be cheerful and participate in social gatherings, while inside we may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Demands on health services also increase over the winter months, and that includes our services. We are really lucky to have a dedicated and caring workforce who will ensure that quality services are delivered throughout Christmas and the New Year period. I know that, at this time of the year, it can be particularly hard to leave home comforts and go to work, so please spare a few thoughts for the fantastic people who keep the NHS running over the busy holiday time.

Next July we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS and all the great things that came with it. However, we know that both locally and nationally the NHS is facing unprecedented challenges to ensure that it can run effectively for another 70 years. The Trust is playing an active part in the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and we have worked hard to ensure mental health and learning disabilities feature strongly in the long-term plans for our healthcare system. Look out for various involvement opportunities in the New Year from across the NHS to have your say and help us make Lincolnshire healthcare futureproof.

I will have another update for you in February, when our latest issue of Better Together magazine will land on your doorstep. For now, though, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it. And as we reach the end of the year, I hope you will find time to reflect on what 2017 brought to you and what opportunities, challenges and surprises may lay ahead in 2018.

Merry Christmas

Paul Devlin
Chair of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust