The Black Country ICS covers a population of 1.3million people across a relatively small geography embracing the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, and City of Wolverhampton and is served by four acute and community providers.
A detailed assessment of the health demographics can be found in the STP 2019-24 Strategic Plan, but it is worthy of note that in recent times we have observed:
- deteriorating cancer health outcomes (particularly over the last five years)
- a growing ‘elective’ backlog significantly impacted by the recent pandemic
- models of care driven by a previous competitive culture between trusts which needs improvement
- several services that could shortly be categorised as ‘fragile’ requiring urgent attention
- a healthcare system facing financial challenges.
Furthermore, the reputation and credibility of the healthcare system is not assured by the low Care Quality Commission (CQC) performance ratings, with three out of four NHS Acute Trusts rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ and the fourth rated as ‘good’. Similarly, the parallel low NHS Oversight Framework (NOF) rating for all four NHS partners is currently rated at level three.