September - Transforming services

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Our transformation programmes restarted in August 2021, having been paused since March 2020, to allow partners to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maternity was the first programme to restart, and we will soon be holding involvement events which will be asking for feedback on Urgent and Emergency Care services and the George Bryan Centre, providing services to residents of Burton upon Trent, Lichfield and Tamworth and surrounding areas. 
 
Maternity

We held virtual involvement events on Friday 16 July and Thursday 12 August to gather feedback. At these events, we heard from people who have given birth in the last three years, are currently pregnant or are thinking of starting or expanding their family in the next few years. Partners and anyone working in maternity services, or anyone working in organisations that support people who might access maternity services, were also encouraged to attend to share their views and experiences. 

Over the two events, we spoke to 28 people who use maternity services, work in the services, or support people who access them. At the events, we spoke to people about the current service provision, and the temporary services changes that have come into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting staffing changes that have occurred. We gathered feedback from people about their experiences of the services during COVID-19, and we also shared ideas about potential new models of care for the future. This included how we might reinstate services at County Hospital in Stafford, and Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in Lichfield.

For anyone unable to attend these events, we also had a survey, where service users and staff were given information via an Issues Paper (which was also available in easy read format). Videos were also created to explain the changes and the possible future models of care. The survey closed at midnight on 15 August and could be accessed online, by phone or in paper format. We received 240 responses from people all over Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and from all different backgrounds. It was very encouraging to see that most respondents were users of maternity services, and many of the other respondents worked in the services.

We are also looking to hold two focus groups to target seldom heard communities. Information on these will be available soon.

The feedback from these events and the survey will be analysed by an independent organisation, and the Report of Findings will be used by clinicians and staff to define options for future services. The report will also be shared on our website.

Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC)

We know the current system can be confusing, with different services and opening times at each of our sites. It’s not surprising that many people choose to go to an Emergency Department (ED, also known as A&E) when they need urgent care or advice – even if it’s not an emergency. 

We would now like to continue the conversation on UEC services that started in 2019. We knew then that we wanted to develop urgent treatment centres (UTCs) in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

However, we recognise the world is different now, and we want to take time to listen to people’s experiences. During the pandemic, we needed to work differently to keep staff and patients safe. This included temporary service changes such as patients with minor injuries being transferred from the ED at Royal Stoke to the Haywood Hospital Walk-in Centre. The minor injuries units at Leek Hospital and Cannock Hospital also had to close.

We now have an opportunity to do things differently – rather than just going back to how things used to be.

We want to listen to the views of people who used UEC services during the COVID-19, work in the services, or support people who access the services, to help inform our proposals. We also want to hear your views on how we should design UTCs for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. You can find out more about UTCs below.

We will soon be holding virtual events to get feedback from people. More information on these events will be available on the Together We’re Better website in the coming weeks. 

If you cannot attend these events, we are still really keen to hear from you. You will be able to complete a survey to give us your feedback and have your say.

George Bryan Centre

In February 2019, a fire destroyed the West Wing of the George Bryan Centre in Tamworth. The East wing was later temporarily closed for safety reasons. Patients were transferred to St George’s Hospital in Stafford, and the centre has been closed since the fire.

In October 2019, listening events were held to hear from local service users, their carers and staff about the impact of the closure and the temporary changes.

Now that transformation work is restarting, we want to find a long-term solution for the mental health services that were provided from the George Bryan Centre.

We will shortly be inviting people who use these services, or care for someone that does, or those working in the services, to give us their feedback. More information about this will soon be available, which you will be able to find by clicking here.