This booklet is a very informative and interesting read for anyone curious about the changes proposed to our NHS services in South Devon and Torbay CCG. It covers proposals for four of the five areas (Coastal has already undergone consultation and changes there are underway).
To get a copy of the proposal booklet follow the link to the CCG consultation page here. This particular booklet gives a brief background and overview of the changes and I recommend you start there. It also contains a questionnaire for those who wish to submit their views to Healthwatch Torbay, however I recommend waiting until you are certain of all the facts before submitting.
This booklet is entitled Into the Future. Each locale also has its own booklet entitled Into the Future subheaded for that area and contains more specific details.
It begins beautifully with gratitude for the reader’s interest and sets out the many benefits they hope to bring as a result of the changes.
In changing the way we deliver local health services, we want to ensure that in the coming years people in South Devon and Torbay are able to get responsive, quality care which meets their needs and is affordable.
My first reaction, and I’m sure many will have had it too, is affordable to whom? Money is an issue that crops up a lot: people say often that the NHS is under, “…geographical, staffing and financial limitations”. Does the CCG mean it is affordable for the public, for the taxpayer, for the CCG or for the NHS service providers?
Many of the proposed benefits they are aiming for are exciting and needed. They are:
- Easier access to a wider range of community-based services to help people stay well and to support them when they are not.
- Earlier identification of those at risk of becoming more unwell through focusing on prevention and self-help.
- Shared information between professionals so that patients only have to tell their story once.
- Reduced travel for as many people as possible for specialist appointments by providing services in clinical hubs – Brixham, Newton Abbot and Totnes – instead of at Torbay Hospital.
- Reduced pressure on A&E by strengthening minor injuries units to treat a wide range of problems, keeping Torbay’s A&E service free to deal with life-threatening issues.
- Safe, high-quality hospital care when needed but keeping people out of hospital when they don’t need to be there.
There are a couple of other points that were less clear in their meaning, or that their context was missing such as:
More effective response in times of crisis when people need services
Is this about paramedics and ambulance services? I believe they are already highly responsive. Perhaps this relates to emergency alarms for vulnerable people, to avoid length of time before they are discovered by relatives or carers after a fall or injury.
In any case, all these points and more are well raised and then explored with somewhat more depth.
If you would like to know what is meant by, “Greater investment in local services by switching funding from hospital to community-based care,” then join my mailing list or add me on facebook to keep up to date with future posts.