We’ve been working since 2016 to identify new and innovative ways of delivering better and more joined up care.
In March 2016 we published a Case for Change and this was followed later in the year by a series of engagement events led by our local Healthwatch partners to capture local peoples’ views on health and social care services through eight events across the county. Some of the comments we heard included:
- Digital: using technology, where appropriate, to reduce the need to travel to hospital appointments for example skype check-ups and remote blood pressure checks. Being clear on how shared access to records will be used by organisations and kept secure
- Mental health: supporting patients to self-refer into mental health and reduce unnecessary GP referrals by introducing mental health nurses into general practice. Capacity of acute beds and capacity and location of children’s placements. Education has a key role in reducing the stigma, especially in schools, workplace and in GPs. Taking a holistic approach to health need - physical and mental health
- Primary and community services: access to GP services and the need for more flexibility. Importance of continuity of care with GPs. Support joined up working with professionals. Ensuring that the community services, therapy and social care services are in place to support patients to be discharged from hospital. Working with the voluntary sector to support patients to be discharged home from hospital
- Finance and cuts to services: concerns around the impact of cuts on respite services and the changes to community hospitals. Ensuring the infrastructure is in place to enable services to cope. Need to reduce duplication and share best practice
- Clinical and staff retention: concerns about the pressure on GPs and that more are choosing to retire early. Challenges in recruiting staff to work in a range of specialties and more should be done to support staff, for example rotation systems, job swaps and buddying
- Prevention: supporting patients to access the right prevention services early and to live healthier lifestyles. Working with schools, local businesses and Black and Minority Ethnic communities to help patients make the right choices for current and future needs. Increasing intergenerational work
- Planned care: look at the way appointments are considered and whether technology could help with follow up appointments. Local focus recognising the role visitors play in helping patients’ wellbeing in hospital
- Urgent and emergency care: education to manage expectations on services. Community triage, using NHS 111 and primary care signposting
- Carers and the voluntary sector: recognising the vital role that carers and the voluntary sector play, and the overreliance on these groups, in supporting the delivery of health and social care services.
Feedback from these events was incorporated into our STP Plan which was submitted at the end of 2016 – you can view the Plan here.