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Member Spotlight: Louise Lucio and Sarah Johnston Sue Ryder from the Duchess of Kent Hospice and Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub

We spoke with Louise – Service Director at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire Sarah – Head of Quality and Community Services at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice about their experiences of being members of the Health Alliance.

Tell us about your organisation.

Sue Ryder is here to make sure everyone approaching the end of their life or living with grief can access the support they need. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how we cope and the help we need, but with our support, no one has to face dying or grief alone. We are there when it matters.

Sue Ryder has commissioned services across five ICS areas in England including BOB ICS with our Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading and community nursing services across parts of Berkshire and South Oxfordshire, we look after people living with life-limiting conditions and offer support for families too. Sue Ryder Nurses based at our Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire in Crowmarsh, Wallingford also support the provision of end-of life care to patients in two beds at Wallingford Community Hospital.

We support people aged 18 and over who are living with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, heart failure and lung disease.

Our team of Sue Ryder Nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, wellbeing and community support service and befrienders combine specialist medical care for managing pain and other symptoms, with emotional, practical and spiritual support. We provide a Hospice at Home service, day hospice, and a care coordination and advice line.

What are your roles within it?

Louise – I’m the Service Director

Sarah – I’m Head of Quality and Community Services

What made you join the alliance?

Sue Ryder joined the Alliance back at the start of 2022. We attended the ‘Embedding VCSE in ICS Partnership Programme’ workshop which was facilitated by NAVCA and we joined the Ageing Well sub-group in December 2022.

As part of our local engagement strategy, we want to engage with the wider third sector and be collaborative partners across the whole BOB ICS footprint. This was with a view to making sure that palliative and end-of-life care and bereavement support was being included and prioritised in BOB ICS wide strategies and plans as well as fulfilling our desire of being part of the wider VCSE voice in BOB.

As we moved into the new world of ICSs in July 2022, we wanted to make sure that we understood how that new system was going to affect us and our sector partners, in terms of commissioning of services, as well as look to find new opportunities to engage and influence with the new ICS system via the BOB Health Alliance and its sub-groups.

How has being part of the group helped you?

Being a part of the Health Alliance has given us a better, clearer idea of the VCSE sector across BOB and the opportunity to forge new connections and strengthen existing ones.

As a member of the Ageing Well sub-group we had the opportunity to formally respond, with one voice, to the BOB Integrated Care Strategy consultation, including meeting with the ICP colleagues who were developing the Strategy, to ask questions and provide our feedback.

With a Memorandum of Understanding between the Health Alliance and the ICB now signed off the voice of the VCSE sector across BOB is being heard at the very heart of the decision-making process across the ICS system which can only be a positive move, not just for member organisations but for our communities that we serve.

Have you met new people/ organisations since joining? If so how has that been helpful?

Yes – it’s been a great opportunity for networking and to understand the wider system that sits around us and across the BOB ICS footprint.

Have you increased your understanding of the NHS and Integrated care since joining?

Yes – alongside our Stakeholder Engagement Officer, John, who supports us to navigate the new NHS structures, being Members of both the BOB Health Alliance and Ageing Well sub-group has increased our understanding and awareness of integrated care with the online resources available on the BOB Health Alliance website, regular monthly email updates and agenda items at the Health Assembly meetings to support with building our knowledge of what’s happening within the ICS and highlighting opportunities of how we can get involved.

Spotlight segment of a post about Sue Ryder

What has surprised you about being part of the alliance?

Positively, the number of stakeholders who are actively engaging in the Alliance. We see this as a real opportunity to embed collaboration and share knowledge, expertise & resources.

What would you say if you were to recommend it to others?

We would recommend anyone who works across the VCSE sector in BOB to become a Member of the Health Alliance.

It is the main avenue for our collective voices to be heard at the top levels of the ICB, and how we engage and influence our NHS and local council colleagues who make decisions on the planning and funding of health and care on behalf of our communities.

Collaboration and partnership working is key to positive change for our communities and the BOB Health Alliance supports that to

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