To receive a brief update on the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC).
An update was provided from the most recent HASC meeting. Key items of discussion included:
As a result of Covid19 a decision was taken in April to merge the several CCGs in West Sussex into an overall CCG for the county.
During the year a variety of surveys were carried out by Healthwatch in Sussex and Sussex NHSCommissioners ‘Accessing Health and Care Services'. Whilst it was recognised that there were some people and communities not represented and therefore further work would be carried out to establish views and experiences, some key headlines included:
· A large minority of all respondents chose not to make an appointment during the pandemic despite having a need to access health, social or emotional care.
· Those with disabilities were more likely todelay appointment making.
Whilst not exhaustive, several recommendations emerged:
· The report emphasised that the message from the NHS was'it isopen forbusiness' andthat thecampaign 'Help us Help you' had merit but needed strengthening especially amongst those more likely to delay appointments.
· Any communication must be in appropriate forms and should both be received and understood.
· There needed to be engagement with those who were more likely to delay appointments and encourage them not to delay.
· Patients should be allowed to choose their preferred method of engagement including face toface.
· Patients should have the opportunity to choose appointments with their regularGP.
· Health and care services should provide remote appointments for specific times.
· The technology skills of some health professionals involved in remote appointments neededimproving.
· There will need to be significant changes to ways the system operates not least because of the increase in both population and housing need.
· There were high levels of satisfaction by those who made appointments by phone, video oronline.
· The preferred way of contact for routine visits was by phone and a large proportion of those with mental health conditions were least satisfied to receive any form of remote appointment as were those with disabilities.
· Older people preferred face to faceappointments with a GP (particularly their regularly GP).
· Several people chose to delay appointments despite having a need. Comments such as 'felt condition was not serious enough' 'did not want to burden the NHS' 'thought I would wait until pandemic was over' were very common.
HASC considered 4 key areas for developing the work.
1. Restoration and Recovery.
Work needed to be done to restore services to pre-Covid 19 levels. This included advertising and social media. It was important to remember there were many frail and elderly living on their own in their own homes and not in care homes and could be receiving better care.
2. Digital Technology.
There needed to be better referrals to reduce workload and the need to avoid any barriers between patient and GP so if a patient provided avoidable times these were maintained.
3. Workforce (upskilling).
New roles within GP practices providing more different services.
4. Estates (premises).
Work needed to be done with the District and Boroughs when looking at new developments – increased dwellings and householders. Community hubs needed to be integrated.
Other issues: West Sussex would not feature in the first tranche of any vaccine rollout and consequently expectations would need to be managed. The vulnerable would be the first to receive any vaccine, prior to the remainder of the population.