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The programme will focus on delivering a sustainable health and care system fit for the future, with the involvement of patients, local people, clinicians, staff and partners. There are several objectives set over varying timescales. Among these, we are seeking to operate within the available budgets across the whole health and care system in North Cumbria. We want to ensure that the ratings given by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are at least (or as a minimum) satisfactory for all organisations providing health services. We also want to see that all local health services fully meet the standards set out in the NHS Constitution. We know we cannot achieve all these ambitions overnight. Some we will look to deliver within six months but others will take three to five years.

At the programme’s inaugural stakeholder event on 18th September 2015, Sir Neil McKay set out six key priority areas for the programme as follows:

  1. Develop a compelling, ambitious, exciting vision and strategy for health and care services across WNE Cumbria – and make it happen
  1. Identify and implement improvements that are appropriate to be made quickly – local people should expect the same quality of services as elsewhere in the county
  1. Identify solution to workforce issues, including long-term leadership development, drawing from experts in the patch, nationally and internationally
  1. The fusion of North Cumbria Hospitals with Northumbria Healthcare Trust to ensure sustainability of local acute services and deliver shared benefits
  1. Seek reasonable freedoms from regulators to enable the headroom to make these changes happen locally
  1. Undertake the most intensive, inclusive programme of clinical and public engagement that West, North and East Cumbria has ever seen