NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG

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Chair Joe Slater’s blog: August 2013

Chair Joe Slater’s blog: August 2013

Quality care

Since the report into hospitals with a high mortality rate undertaken by Sir Bruce Keogh was published, I have been involved in making sure that we make the most of this opportunity to have a thorough examination of how well the public are served not just by the hospital but by all of us who work in the local NHS.

I said last time that I was keen to make sure that real stories were used to help us think about how we organise urgent care and so at a recent workshop we did consider how people both young and old were treated at present.  We also thought about how we could design a system that helped people get the right help delivered by the right person in the right place at the right time.

We involved representatives from the council, the ambulance and police services, as well as voluntary organisations and Healthwatch as I think that it is important to get as many views as possible about what we should do. This was quite timely as one of the key recommendations in the report which followed the Keogh review was that there should be a health and social care economy wide approach to reducing the number of emergency admissions by providing alternative support in the community, empowering and aiding patients to effectively manage their long term conditions at home and promoting healthy living to stay well

Other messages included making sure that leaders:

  • Know about the quality of services provided;
  • Are told quickly  if there is a potential problem;
  • Talk with and listen to the public; and
  • Reassure people about safety, effectiveness and good experience of care and treatment.

These of course apply just as much to the CCG as to the hospital and our governing body will consider how well we measure up to expectations in the areas of Clinical Engagement, Patient Engagement, Planning, Governance, Collaboration and Leadership.

Ambulance calls

Part of my role is finding out how people are treated and so I went to visit the ambulance service base in Manchester where I was able to sit beside a paramedic and listen in to the calls they were taking and making.  It is surprising that very many of the calls they take are about situations where there is no immediate threat to life but someone is on the phone who is concerned about a situation and wants to know what is best to do. The paramedics are trained to ask the right questions to ensure the right decision is made and of course quickly send an ambulance when someone needs to go to hospital in a matter of minutes. The technology they have is impressive and this helps the staff ensure that ambulances are sent to the most ill people and quickly get them to the hospitals across the North West

50 plus partnership

It is important that we do not work in isolation and so I was pleased to attend the meeting of the 50 plus partnership at which the results of research into the impact on health of loneliness and isolation were presented. The event was hosted by Steve Tingle from the council and a variety of groups were represented including Healthwatch, Age UK and the Older People’s forum.   I heard some people talking about what they do at a very local level to support people who, without the friendship offered, would almost certainly be lonely. I look forward to the production of the report of the discussions on the day as I expect it will contain some important recommendations for our group to consider and that it will also help us spread the word about how, in small neighbourhoods, people do provide valuable care and assistance which too often goes unrecognised.