‘Cash is not enough – the only cure is a properly joined-up health service’ headline in The Sunday Times 7th January 2018. NESCHA members would prefer Care service – care that we take of ourselves and each other; care that prevents the need for ‘health’ treatment, and if it doesn’t do so, uses care to keep you at home, or hospital for the minimum time. Camilla Cavendish the author of the article has ‘observed the NHS for more than 10 years: as a journalist, as a non-executive director of the NHS regulator Care Quality Commission, as a patient and a relative..’ NESCHA members are similar as they contribute to networks but also have lived experiences as patients and relatives/ carers. Her comments echo many we have made about prevention ie’ how much a physiotherapist might save the NHS if she [ or she] helped an elderly person who would otherwise not get out of bed?’ We know that in many areas there is great practice eg health monitoring in care homes and nutrition management as part of a social centre for older people, but two examples of best practice and joined-up thinking, we have highlighted through our Forums and on our YouTube channel
Royal Commission or Green Paper? Returning to Camilla Cavendish, she talks about the need for a ‘grown up conversation about healthcare ‘ and perhaps a royal commission ‘to look at health and social care. Will Jeremy Hunt becoming Minister for Health AND Social Care bring about the changes needed as the NHS struggles due to our ageing population and , in many respects ever better medical treatment? Pulse – the news piece for GPs, refers to this ‘rejig’ and the forthcoming green paper to tackle these issues of social care for older people – not least as it impacts on GPs and the NHS.
Are you one who believes that the NHS is a ‘monolith’ or as Camilla puts it ‘an alphabet soup of 700 different organisations …a ramshackle lifeboat held together with dotted lines and goodwill’? We all know there is immense goodwill and no lack of expertise at all sorts of levels in health and social care. Why does it need to be so many different organisations? This multiplicity produces communication issues and arguments about whose budget pays for an older person’s care whether it be at home in a care home or in hospital.
Why do we pay people to ask the same questions of patients or potential patients, again and again. One of our members raised a complaint about the treatment of his mother in a hospital for several reasons, not least was a form needed to be completed before she could be admitted, and re-admitted a number of times due to a serious medical condition. When eventually he took the complaint into a meeting at the highest level – the consultant looked at the file and within moments had found five copies of the same form with the same information! Why can’t the patient supply the key information on an electronic card – information would be accurate and could be updated could it not?
The Single Assessment Process was supposed to to avoid these issues but whatever happened to that? NESCHA members often ask these questions and more especially when they see how others from different parts of the North East have better experiences as well as worse.
Do you believe we can look forward to the Green Paper and seeing the Minister achieve his stated ambition for a properly joined-up health service? We hope so…..