The weather we had in early January with the strong winds heavy rain and flooding, although clearly a very miserable and difficult time for many people, did provide an opportunity to test the effectiveness of the emergency plans drawn up in each area and also demonstrated how innovative people can be when faced with actual and potentially devastating situations.
We were lucky to escape with relatively little impact but it caused me to reflect on how effective our Winter plan proved in December and January and consider if there are things we need to change to make sure that we have no major disruption to services between now and the Spring. On our website we have some key messages which we tried to get across in a variety of ways Include link to Think! messages – any feedback about which is the best way to let people know what is available and help them decide what is most appropriate in their circumstances would be helpful.
Feed back on hospital services
The hospital is also wanting to hear from people and their tell ELlie (East Lancashire Listens, Involves and Engages) campaign was launched on 20 January. This is designed to provide another way for people to have their say about the services the hospital provides. Of course we in the CCG realise that people often attend the hospital having been referred by their GP and on discharge the GP takes responsibility again for the person’s care and treatment so I asked for and got assurances that the hospital staff will pass on to us any feedback or suggestions that are relevant to us as commissioners of hospital and community care and providers of primary care.
Key actions in January
On January 9, members of the integrated commissioning group, which includes senior representatives of both the Council and the CCG, met for the whole day to consider how we can use the public funds allocated to us to best effect to improve the health and well-being of the people in the borough.
Although most of our resources will be spent as they were last year, commissioning community and hospital treatments for people, we are required to have a better care programme which sets out detailed plans for the next two years alongside a five year strategy describing how we will integrate services as well as provide more services in the community rather than a hospital setting.
I have talked in an earlier Blog about the plans to integrate around four areas of the Borough. This plan remains on course and was further discussed at our senate meeting where the GP representatives got together and in the evening when representatives of our Patient Participation Groups came to the Barbara Castle Way Health Centre.
- On 15 January we had our governing body discussion and development meeting and as well as getting an update on equality and diversity issues as part of our development and we had a detailed discussion about the plans described above.
- January 20 was the date of the first meeting of the Health and Wellbeing board for 2014. One important topic was the plan for communications and engagement over the year. The video of the event at King George’s Hall last year is on the council’s website.
- I also went to a meeting of the Older People’s Forum at which a speaker talked through some of the advantages of writing a will and creating a Trust when considering how to protect assets for beneficiaries. The talk also covered lasting power of attorney and funeral plans. Other speakers included a member of the Council’s Connect team who covered the topic of transport and a lady who invited attendance at a meeting to discuss the prevention of abuse of older people. Linked with this the organisation discussed a dignity charter which they hope organisations and individuals will sign up to and thus increase the likelihood of older people being treated with dignity and respect.
This year will see the start of some major changes which are intended to improve the health and well being of all us who live in Blackburn with Darwen, I hope to be able at the end of the year to be able to share evidence that we are making a difference.