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“Never make predictions” reportedly said the baseball star Yogi Berra, “especially about the future.”

You can see his point. We work in a world which is full of factors beyond our control. Administering vaccines in a racecourse was never on our to-do list. Nor was how our services could respond to a refugee crisis caused by a war few thought would happen.

So what do we hold on to when thinking about what an unpredictable future will bring?

I joined Here as lead non-executive and chair in 2021 not because of any specific service we run, nor because I was dazzled by what rating our regulator has bestowed upon us. Rather it was the burning, dazzling core of our organisation – our purpose, what we value in caring for others, our commitment to care for one another – which made such an opportunity too good to turn down. I feel honoured and humbled to be able to play a small part in such a remarkable organisation, full of remarkable people.

We can learn for the future from our past. Over our history we have changed, and changed again. We have performed roles – such as referral management – which we have moved on from. We have run services – such as Primary Care Mental Health Services  – from which we have stepped away. We have had small ideas – such as a nifty new tool for GP practices – which have turned into nationwide businesses.

Through-out we have always thought hard about how best we can create more time for care in every moment. This is what we will continue to do in the future, and will lead us in directions I am certain we cannot predict today.

But let’s make some predictions, particularly about the year ahead.

  • We will continue to work predominantly in Sussex, delivering our existing fantastic services and seeking new ways to bring our approach to care to even more people. In responding to Covid-19, we have worked with whole new parts of our population we have never worked with before. As health and care services start to work even more closely together, we want to play a significant role in joining up care, and reducing health inequalities, across what has been our home turf.
  • We will build on the footholds we have established outside of Sussex, in particular through our shareholding in our Welsh cousin, Yma. We will bring what we have learnt in Sussex, but equally be open to learn how personalised care is being delivered in very different places.
  • We will look to build new collaborations with organisations where we share common values, even if we don’t share common postcodes. Through Practice Unbound we have a fantastic web of relationships across the UK (one of our biggest is in Wolverhampton for example). We will seek to humbly explore whether there is desire for our approach to clinical services in some of these beyond-Sussex places too.   

To go back a little earlier than 20th century baseball, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is often quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” We can safely predict that. Across the coming year, and starting with our annual general meeting, we will have many conversations as to how we stay true to our core purpose while change will continue to rage around us. 

Thank you to all of our people for everything you are have done, and are doing now. And I look forward to working with you in our changing future.

Follow Rich on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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