The Chief Fire Officers Association’s Summer Conference opened with CFOA President Peter Dartford setting the scene about the work that the fire service does, and is doing, around health.
In January, CFOA met with NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens to discuss the fire and rescue service contribution to improving health outcomes. This led to a fire health summit, where senior attendees from the health sector and the LGA concluded that the work of fire services should be considered as a health asset.
Peter outlined how the fire service could take its experience of prevention and reducing demand on acute services, into the health arena. He hoped that the presentations of the day would enthuse, encourage and excite fire services about the contribution that they can make to help reduce demand on the health service, and in particular, to help reduce winter deaths.
Sharing data is key
Jacquie White and Katie Walkin from NHS England gave a fascinating insight into person-centred care for long term conditions.
From commissioning services, to data sharing and health boards, they gave an idea of where FRSs could fit into the national map at a strategic level – but also at a local level when it comes to delivery.
With the complexity of the NHS system – there are 210 clinical commissioning groups who commission care for their local populations from providers – fire services need to be plugged into this at a local and national level and to form an integral part of the provider landscape.
There are opportunities for services to take action locally now, through ordering and distributing the Health Ageing guide, talking to local health and wellbeing boards, helping to meet the challenge of reducing excess deaths in the winter – and beyond, through helping to sent out the right national support to enable action at a local level.