18 March 2022
On so many levels, people around the world are reviewing their priorities. From national governments and huge corporates right down to family and personal lives, things are being reshaped and reset.
The obvious catalyst for much of this has been the pandemic. It brought individual and systemic shocks, many of which continue to reverberate loudly and deeply today.
But the world and events around us had already been shifting and changing. The need to tackle widening inequalities, address climate change and build a strong, inclusive economy, were all becoming increasingly urgent.
As CEO of Leeds City Council, these are the huge headlines across my working day. The responsibilities for tackling these are long-term, complex and shared by so many.
Leeds City Council is also a founding member of Leeds Academic Health Partnership, one of the largest partnerships of its kind in the UK. As chair of the Partnership’s Board, I have a privileged view of its work, its alignment to city priorities and to those huge challenges we all share.
As the Partnership prepares to enter a new strategic phase, I’ve been working with board members to review and agree its new priorities, which must also align with their own.
All of this is within a broader context of continual shift and change. Apart from gradually moving out of the acute pandemic situation, we are preparing for changes to organisational structures in health and regional governance. Following the UK’s EU exit, we are also preparing for an emerging, new policy context in health, innovation and research.
Interpreting change and addressing such fundamental challenges takes time, tenacity, courage and an exceptional level of innovative thinking and collaboration. So I was delighted this month to witness Leeds Academic Health Partnership board members unanimously and strongly reaffirm their collective commitment to it.
With the help and hard work of a small team at its core, we agreed that the Partnership will redesign its work to focus on these three strategic priorities:
It will strengthen its role as navigator of the health and care ecosystem, acting as an important gateway to the city for innovators in health and care. And, as convenor and enabler, it will continue to help lift perspectives beyond organisational pressures. This will provide unique opportunities for partners to work as a ‘whole system’ to improve population health.
Colleagues from across the Partnership are now working hard with the core team to explore the details and plan the practical next steps.
It’s an exciting and important new chapter and I’m looking forward to seeing our collective impact through this Partnership on improving the health, wellbeing and prosperity of all our communities.
Tom Riordan, Chair, Leeds Academic Health Partnership.
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