Worcester News Article – 7th September

Last week, with Healthwatch Herefordshire, I participated in a meeting of the Partnership Board of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, which is an NHS led partnership responsible for implementing NHS England’s Long Term Plan in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The Partnership Board provides one of many opportunities for the NHS and its partners in the County Council and Voluntary and Community Sector to share ideas with Healthwatch and listen to our views. Issues discussed last week included the Partnership’s response to NHS England as to how the NHS and its partners will respond locally to address health inequalities within our communities that have been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic nationally. We also looked at a plan to enable patients and their carers to manage their own care, including interactions with the NHS such as outpatients appointments, through access to a new digitised ‘Integrated Well Being and Care Record’ which is under development. I stressed the need for those who use health and care services to be involved in the work on both these issues. I also had an opportunity to voice the concerns that patients and the public have reported to us about access to their GPs, particularly for those for whom telephone or video consultations do not work.

We are compiling a summary of the feedback we have received relating to GP practices throughout the pandemic and will be sharing this with the Clinical Commissioning Group in order to highlight key issues and concerns that have been raised with us by patients.

Restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in care homes have prevented many people from being able to visit loved ones. As restrictions start to ease the ability to visit care homes is now increasing. Decisions about visiting will ultimately be made by individual homes, based on assessment of risk and individual circumstances. However, homes should set out guidance and advice for residents and families in their visiting policy, which should include tips about communication if visitors are required to wear masks and helping to prepare residents for visits, in particular for people with dementia.

Please get in touch to share with us in confidence your experiences of accessing local health and social care services – info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk / 01386 550264 or visit our website to report feedback anonymously – www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk