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Planning for the future

21 October 2016 So, lots of material this week it is difficult to know where to start. The debate continues in the press about what the NHS has or hasn't received and the role of Sustainability Transformation Plans (STPs). Meanwhile we still have to focus on the day job and the planning for next year. Winter has arrived and the number of people going through the County Hospital A&E department is substantially in excess of predictions. That got me thinking and reminded me of something I said in 2012 about healthcare consumption. We all know that there isn't really a winter surge in people accessing emergency services; it is now all year round. This has been particularly apparent this year. In 2012 I did a television interview which attracted a great deal of coverage. I basically said I was worried that some members of the public were consuming healthcare at a rate which wasn't sustainable and compared it to an "all you can eat buffet". My intention was to try to create a debate about how to have productive conversations with the public about the use of services. Needless to say, we haven't had that debate and consumption of healthcare is more prevalent than ever. In November and December we will be working in conjunction with Healthwatch to undertake a number of engagement events across Staffordshire and I hope this will be the opportunity to further the debate about use of healthcare. We also have the Ambassadors programme which has now commenced. Anybody can sign up to this and receive training to enable them to engage in discussions about healthcare with colleagues and external groups.

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