West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) leaders have welcomed the publication of a Healthwatch public engagement report ‘What would you do?’.
In 2018, the government announced that the NHS’ budget would be increased by £20 billion a year. In January 2019, the NHS in England published a long term plan for spending this extra money, covering everything from making care better to investing more money in technology and helping more people stay well.
The Healthwatch report brings together over 1800 public responses to the NHS Long Term Plan from surveys and fifteen focus groups held in Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – which targeted many people including those with mental health conditions, dementia as well as young persons, carers and faith groups.
The report highlights the importance of: ‘partners working together to make it easier and affordable for people to say fit and eat healthily, as well as ‘more pro-active support around weight loss’; and concerns around ‘better emergency support for people in mental health crisis’ – an area the Partnership is working hard to address.
The voice of carers taking part in the focus groups endorses the Partnership’s approach that: ‘carers need more support to keep them safe and healthy including regular health checks, respite care and flexible appointments to fit round caring responsibilities’.
The Partnership’s vision is for everyone to have the best health and wellbeing possible. Public conversations are essential to the way the Partnership’s work – engagement, particularly with the people delivering and receiving services, results in better outcomes.
Report findings build on the engagement work taking place locally as well as that supporting WY&H HCP’s priorities which include cancer, mental health, maternity services, and improving care for people with learning disabilities.
Comments received around quicker appointment times are an important part of the WY&H primary care and urgent and emergency care work. For example, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) had been awarded the contract for NHS 111 telephony, call handling and core clinical advice service in Yorkshire and the Humber. This will see an increase in clinical advice and direct booking; clinical validation for emergency department referrals and managing dental calls for children under five.
WY&H HCP recognise and value the significance of having peoples’ voices at the very heart of all they do and remain fully committed to actively listening whilst taking into consideration these views wherever possible.
Hannah Davies, Chief Executive of Leeds Healthwatch said:
‘Healthwatch are passionate about people’s voices being kept at the centre of health and care plans, and would therefore like to give big thanks to all the people that took park in this important work. We and our West Yorkshire, Craven and Harrogate Healthwatch colleagues will continue to work together and be the critical friend to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, especially as they embark on major plans over the next five years. There are some really clear messages that came out in the report around inequalities in services now, but also what people think the future NHS should look like, and we will continue to work to try to help improve the access to, quality of and experience of health and social care services for all in our region’.
Rob Webster, CEO Lead for WY&H HCP said:
‘I would like to thank Healthwatch colleagues on producing this important report, which has reached so many diverse groups of people. As a Partnership we have consistently developed our work based on the views of public and people, alongside evidence on population health. It’s interesting to note that people said they wanted to be: ‘listened to, trusted and taken seriously as experts of their own bodies’. This is central to the work we are doing on personalised health care and joined up services. Working alongside partners, stakeholders and the public in the planning, design and delivery of all our work is essential if we are to get this right’.
Other findings set out in the report included ‘better use of IT and electronic records’ and ‘to have all hospitals having the same computer systems or ones that talk to each other’. People also said they want the NHS to work: ‘towards stopping folk getting ill rather than curing illnesses’ – all areas being prioritised by WY&H HCP.
WY&H HCP will be using the findings from this eagerly awaited report, alongside other engagement work to develop their Five Year Plan, expected winter 2019. This Plan will build on the ‘Next steps to better health and care for everyone’ published in February 2018.
Whilst ensuring WY&H HCP work aligns fully to the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan; the WY&H Plan will include a stronger focus on supporting carers and preventing ill health. It will also set out WY&H HCP’s intention to support children and families more, whilst tackling health inequalities and improving the lives of the poorest, the fastest. It will also recognise the huge contribution community organisations and volunteers make; and the vital role of the 260,000 unpaid carers who care for family and friends day in day out and whose numbers are more than that of the paid workforce. The impact of housing, employment and household income on a person’s health are ever present in the Partnership’s approach. All areas mentioned in the Healthwatch engagement report.
The engagement findings are an important part of developing the Five Year Plan and will help identify further public involvement needed.
You can read the engagement report at www.wyhpartnership.co.uk