Well it has been a roller coaster few months! And while we have had some disappointing news, I have been incredibly proud of what my team have delivered in 2018 - and am confident we will continue to do so in 2019.

We have seen some considerable developments in our services this year and we are proud to be the first port-of-call for primary care support across the whole health and care system. This has been evident as we have expanded our provision to the neighbourhood teams – supporting five of them as they deliver their projects.

Stellar Healthcare Education Network (SHEN) has also received glowing reviews and we have helped support primary care by offering high quality, competitively priced training for practices. This will be a key area of growth for 2019 and we are very excited to announce that we are developing a new membership offer for other practices. Our web site will be improved to take online payments and we will be offering a wider range of courses and training opportunities in the coming months. Watch this space!  

This year, we took on new contracts for the GP front door at Broomfield and are now also commissioned to support the Persistent Pain service through our CRS.  To add, the CCG has commissioned us to continue the Health help Now app and web site as a local self-care tool for another year and we are in the process of developing a marketing plan to promote this to patients.

We continue to deliver the Evening and Weekend GP Service until April and our winter schedule <link>has been enhanced by NHSE to provide additional hours to ease pressure.  We will also be working with practices in the first quarter of 2019 to look at how we reduce DNA rates in the service to maximise capacity.

Unfortunately, we also have some sad news as Daisy Blair will be leaving us after Christmas to embark on the next chapter of her career in health. Daisy has been instrumental in getting SHEN off the ground and in our support of the neighbourhood teams – not to mention a pleasure to work with. I really cannot thank her enough for the hard work and dedication she has put in, and I wish her all the best of luck as she takes up her new post at Hertfordshire Community Trust (HCT).

This has given us the opportunity, however, to make a few changes in the team to help us focus on some our key deliverables going forward. We are pleased to say that Vicki White will take on a new role as the SHEN lead and will be working closely with practices to develop and enhance our training and education offering – including linking in with Anglia Ruskin University and other networks.

Nadia Langley will also be continuing as Operational Lead in the team in her RAS role, but will now also support the neighbourhood teams and projects and she will be in contact the groups over the coming weeks. She will also be supporting the Evening and Weekend service as it is handed over to Hertfordshire Urgent Care (HUC) ensuring that west Essex continues to receive an excellent service.

Luanne Hoffman will now provide some of our corporate functions including our AGM and shareholder support and Renier van Zyl will continue to look at digital functionality and innovation and the opportunities it offers health services, especially primary care.

Other priorities in the coming months will be to ensure we continue to improve our current services as we expand our portfolio; working closely with colleagues in the CCG and wider provider network in the ICP and STP and looking beyond west Essex to see how we can learn and grow as a federation.

On a final note, I just want to thank everyone who has worked for and supported us this year. Your ongoing conviction and faith in our ethos has given us confidence to persevere - and as we approach a bright and promising 2019, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year.