Together We’re Better (TWB), the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, is running a series of listening events, feedback sessions and roadshows as part of a 12-week public conversation, seeking views on health and care services locally.
One of the most important areas for discussion is urgent and emergency care, specifically how the system can be simplified and work more effectively so that people only attend A&E for life threatening or serious conditions.
Urgent and emergency care services in the county are facing significant pressures – with increasing demand leading to longer waiting times. There is also public confusion about which services are most appropriate for their specific health and care needs, leading to many opting for expensive A&E visits when they would be better served visiting a GP practice, local pharmacy or an urgent care centre.
The 12-week public conversation being held by the Together We’re Better partnership of NHS and local government organisations, working alongside Healthwatch and voluntary and community sector groups, is seeking to understand what is working well, what should be improved and what is important to local people when it comes to health and care.
Dr Steve Fawcett, Director of the Urgent and Emergency Care Programme for TWB, commented:
“Through this public conversation we’re trying to capture as many views as we can. It’s important that people get involved because their feedback will shape the plans we make for the future of health and care in the region. At this stage, we haven’t made any decisions, we’re not presenting any proposals, and our only focus is to hear what people have to say.
“Urgent and emergency care is one of the key issues we’re discussing at every event. I want to understand what people are hoping to get out of our services and how we can make them better. We know that the range of services available can be a bit confusing, they’re not as joined up as they could be, and they can sometimes be difficult to access. We also want to help people to make the right decision about where’s best to go to meet their needs, so they only attend A&E departments when absolutely necessary.”
As well as simplifying the urgent and emergency care system, the conversation, which runs until midnight on Sunday 25 August, is also focusing on:
How the local health and care system can embrace and fully utilise new technology and ensure the buildings we deliver services from are fit for purpose
Reviewing the use and function of the community hospitals in South Staffordshire
Exploring what ‘integration of health and care services’ really means for local people
Identifying additional priorities that will deliver clinical and financial stability.
Your views will not only help in developing any future service proposals, but also inform the local Five Year Strategic Plan that will be published in Autumn 2019 and outline the local response to the priorities set down in the national NHS Long Term Plan.