Difficult Decisions

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In January 2020, the six NHS Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) began the first phase of engagement about five areas of care:

  • Assisted conception

  • Hearing aids for non-complex hearing loss

  • Male and female sterilisation

  • Breast augmentation and reconstruction

  • Removal of excess skin following significant weight loss.

The work was known as Difficult Decisions. The policy criteria and patient eligibility was not the same across all of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent regions, so we wanted to make this the same for everyone.

The eight-week engagement work ended on 1 March 2020. The report of findings can be found online here

  pdfStaffs Difficult Decisions Engagement Summary 

pdfDifficult decisions report

For more information on the latest phase of engagement you can visit your CCG’s website by selecting the appropriate link below:

Plans for any further engagement was put on hold when all local health services focused on supporting the efforts to manage the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. We sent a statement to all stakeholders involved in this engagement to explain this.

Since then, there have been changes to the way the NHS has been able to deliver services and see patients. We know this may have affected the way people feel about or changed their experience of the services.

In Autumn 2021 we were able to continue with the engagement work, using what people told us in early 2020 (before COVID-19) and adding any new information people wanted to share. We ran a survey from Monday 13 September 2021 to Sunday 10 October 2021, and the comments received have been independently analysed. A report on the findings is due to be published shortly.

This report will help us to move from the first phase (engagement) to the second phase (involvement). We will then develop some possible solutions for the five areas of care and final proposals. At this point we will assess what further involvement is required at the next phase.