Welcome to our first newsletter of 2018! And what a January it has been so far with winter pressures being felt across the health and care system more profoundly than for many years. In Surrey Heartlands we are more fortunate than most as devolution – even in shadow form – has given us access to transformation funding and we have used £2m of it to supplement planned winter spending. We have also been helped by the many members of the public and our own staff who have taken up the flu vaccine to help protect themselves and those around them.

As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter we are now inviting residents of Surrey Heartlands to comment on our forward plans, or commissioning intentions. For the first time we are bringing together a joint planning approach from Guildford and Waverley, North West Surrey, Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Surrey County Council. Once you have seen the plans please let us have your views through the survey.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our seven new Citizen Ambassadors. I was able to meet them at their first workshop earlier this month where they were able to encounter the programme managers from the workstreams to which they are assigned as well as hearing from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience at Northumbria Healthcare, who is a leading expert in the field of patient and public involvement and who has also worked with the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation. The Citizen Ambassadors will bring their own insight, and those from local people and communities, to discussions with Surrey Heartlands’ health and care managers and clinicians.

The way Surrey Heartlands engages with its population has also been the subject of more positive national attention. NHS England and the King’s Fund, a leading health think tank on the health system in England, have provided an initial £25k in funding for Surrey Heartlands to help develop their approach to patient insight and feedback and its use in shaping services at a national level.

With very best wishes,
Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands