Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

Health Action Group Reports

Report on West Kent’s Local Care Plan – 3rd July

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West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group held the meeting at The Stage to update us on its Local Care Plan and seek feedback. This was facilitated by external consultants and attended by at least 100 people, comprised of NHS staff, politicians and 40 interested members of the public. We were told that thinking was at an early stage and our feedback was important.

Initially questions were asked about content in Sevenoaks Council’s Local Plan which had included Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, as a development site for residential housing, but it was emphasised that no decisions had been taken, although the NHS representative stated than an optimisation exercise of the NHS estate was taking place to ensure full use was being made of its buildings.

We were then told why we may need Hubs as not all healthcare needs to be done in a hospital or GP surgery and people with complex needs need more integrated care therefore it was hoped the Hubs could offer a range of services obviating the need to travel to various sites for different services.

A presentation was given illustrating what services could be delivered from a hub and this was followed by discussions at individual tables to discuss what services could best be offered to suit the local community. It was stated that the Hubs would deliver coordinated care supporting people with complex needs such as mental health, dementia and frailty. Participants were asked to put forward ideas as to what they thought should be delivered in the hub covering a range of specialist and community services such as diabetes, podiatry, blood tests, falls prevention. Diagnostics, using ultrasound and MRI, and some outpatient clinics such as ENT, cardiology, ophthalmology, could take place there as well as services promoting health and wellbeing e.g. education and housing benefit advice, KCC’s One You, health promotion and even a community café. This would relieve pressure on the Acute Hospitals to concentrate delivering specialist care and consultant led diagnostics and treatment, both outpatient and inpatient.

The feeling in the room was that the theory sounded good but there is a vast difference between the theory and reality. Many would prefer to concentrate on improving what is already being done and avoid further disruptive change.

Others welcomed the idea of a “one stop shop, “ the attempt to get out of the “silo” mentality and the idea of taking care of people in a holistic and proactive way e.g. medical and housing service working together to help a mental health patient being evicted for not paying the rent.

The number and location of Hubs across the West Kent CCG area was discussed and there was a general consensus that good public transport links and adequate car parking was imperative.

It was noted that Edenbridge needs were excluded from the proposal as the plans for a combined hospital and GP surgery at Edenbridge are also well under way, albeit with the loss of 14 inpatient beds. A separate piece of work is taking place to establish the number of community inpatient beds needed in the area.

Transport and accessibility were then discussed and we were all encouraged to fill in a questionnaire as both individuals and groups. Sadly the questionnaire design seemed totally inappropriate for group responses, and did not allow individuals to express the current difficulties they face when attending medical services. The questionnaire focused on the time taken to travel, rather than the more important issue of accessibility.

There does not seem to be any joined up thinking between KCC and the NHS regarding travel to medical services or for the provision of car parking. There was no commitment from the Clinical Commissioning Group to form a transport plan for these new hubs. Your committee members asked about transport plans and were told this would be addressed at the “Big Conversation” on rural bus services which was scheduled for the following day. This was attended by most of the forum’s committee and a number of members. We have to report that the subject of travel to health facilities did not come up in the presentation, making the previous day’s claim invalid.

SDSAF Health Action Group

The Kent & Medway Sustainable Transformation Plan together with Local Care Plan may result in changes to the location and method of delivery of some health services, therefore the Committee felt that it would be helpful to form a Health Sub Group to focus on the developments being proposed by the CCGs. The Action Group will monitor Board papers and announcements which may affect our members and, where appropriate, question and challenge proposals and outcomes, whilst taking every opportunity to work constructively with our health service providers on behalf of our members and the community as a whole.

A recent example of our involvement was putting written questions to the CCG regarding the poor performance of the wheelchair provision and repair.

The Action Group would welcome members’ feedback of any examples of excellent care and services together with any information about any general difficulties they have experienced, so that we can pinpoint any issues which the Forum bring up in a general way with the decision makers.

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Useful Links:

Healthwatch Kent

Dartford Gravesham & Swanley CCG

West Kent CCG

Kent & Medway STP

Information about Help with Health Costs

One You Kent



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