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Staffordshire system review sets challenges that health and care will meet

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Health and care leaders across Staffordshire today welcomed the publication by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of a report into services for older people in the county.

The CQC’s Staffordshire System Review is unveiled today (Friday December 14) and follows an inspection carried out in the autumn.

It comes to a number of conclusions. These include:

  • People are mainly satisfied with the quality of services provided once they received them
  • Older people living in Staffordshire had varied experiences of health and social care services
  • Leaders are working together with strong leadership and clear shared vison
  • People were being supported to remain in their own home but provision varies
  • A&E attendances for people over 65 were similar to the national average but higher than comparator area averages
  • There had been improvements but older residents can still experience delay coming out of hospital and accessing suitable care and support in the community
  • Care home choice can be restricted and quality varies.

The review does underline the commitment to improve that is being led by the county’s sustainability and transformation partnership (STP). Known in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as Together We’re Better, the partnership brings together all health and care providers including NHS and local authorities.

Simon Whitehouse, Director of Together We’re Better, said: “A tremendous amount of work has gone in from all the partners throughout the past 12 months to really focus on tackling the challenges we face with a system-wide approach.

“This is being reflected in a number of ways, such as through the introduction of Integrated Care Teams. These teams are made up of staff from health and care organisations working alongside the voluntary and independent sector to deliver more coordinated care for the communities they serve. Partners have also contributed towards developing a very robust plan to address the challenges faced by the local health and care system over winter.

“I’m pleased the CQC report recognises both the strong commitment that is in place among our partners to deliver on our collective vision of ‘working with you to make Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent the healthiest places to live’ and the clinically-led programmes that are working to deliver on that transformation. That being said, I completely accept that more needs to be done and as we prepare to embark on a busy 2019 of public engagement, we must redouble our efforts to build on the solid foundations put in place.”

Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member of Health, Care and Wellbeing and Co-Chair of the Health and Wellbeing board, welcomed the feedback in today’s report.

Alan said: “The health and social care system in Staffordshire is complex and has faced challenges over a number of years.

“The county council, together with our NHS partners, wants to help more people enjoy longer, healthy, more independent lives. They are focusing on more joined up prevention, early intervention and where possible, offering support in local communities rather than hospitals.

“I would like to thank the CQC for its report. I am pleased that it highlights the huge progress we have made, and it will help us to focus our ongoing efforts on the areas where we still need to do more.

“I would also like to thank all of the staff who have been working so hard to improve health and care services and I am glad that their achievements have been recognised.”

Marcus Warnes is Accountable Officer for the six NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) covering Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent was not covered by this System Review but received a similar review last year.

He said: “Last year’s review into services in Stoke-on-Trent led extra impetus to make changes we knew were needed and these are now having a really positive impact, not just in the city but across Staffordshire. More people are being discharged from hospital in a timely way, there is extra support in the community, and older patients are seeing a real change in how they receive hospital services.

“While this Staffordshire review is far more positive, and reflects the work already taking place such as the creation of a pioneering Frailty Hub in Lichfield, it also shows that far more needs to be done. We are fully committed to making this progress and will not duck any of the challenges we face.

“In Staffordshire we have superb front-line staff and we owe it to them and to our patients to be the best we possibly can.”

The full system review report can be found on the CQC website.