NHS

Report to be presented to Tuesday’s Health Scrutiny meeting shows Devon NHS continuing to let down patients with cancer and those needing ‘elective’ surgery. Where is the urgency to improve patients’ experience, when they are faced with life-threatening and life-changing conditions?

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A report to be discussed on Tuesday provides alarming evidence that the NHS in Devon is continuing to fail patients with serious conditions, both cancer patients and patients who require what is classified as ‘elective’ surgery. On both counts, Devon yet again scores worse than the national average.

It shouldn’t need emphasising that with cancer, delays cost lives. With many other conditions, delays cause needless weeks and months of additional pain and suffering, with serious impacts on patients and their families.

The Government’s long-term failure to fund the NHS is primarily responsible, and staff shortages – exacerbated by Brexit (which is driving away European doctors and nurses) -make the situation worse.

Yet it is difficult not to feel that Devon’s NHS leaders (in the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) are complacent about these failings. Once more, damning figures are buried in the middle of a report whose main focus is the overall Winter experience in 2018-19.

Where is the urgency to improve patients’ experience of our NHS, when they faced with life-threatening and life-changing conditions? When will the Health Scrutiny committee call the NHS to account for these failings?

THIS IS WHAT THE REPORT SAYS:

Cancer – time to treatment  ‘Performance against national cancer waiting times standards for first definitive treatment within 62 days for urgent referrals showed significant variation throughout the year, with performance at Devon level consistently failing to meet national targets.’

Over the year, the figure varied from 68.4 to 80.2 per cent, against a national target of 85 per cent.

Cancer – time to see specialist  ‘The time taken for patients to see a specialist after urgent referral for a suspected cancer within 2 weeks of an urgent referral improved during Winter, with overall performance at Devon level reaching an in-year high-point of 89.5%, but still failing to meet the national target of 94% of patients being seen within 2 weeks of urgent referral.’

In fact, the figures show that March 2019 was the best month of the last year, during which the figure varied from 80 to 89.5%.

Referrals to treatment within 18 weeks ‘We continued to see a deterioration in the proportion of people being referred to treatment within 18 weeks, dropping to 80.5% by the end of the year.’

 

 

Stagecoach are consulting on bus routes in our area – an opportunity to improve links to RD&E as well as Beer-Exeter? Your opportunity to comment.

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Stagecoach are proposing to route the 9A via Beer – shouldn’t they also reroute it to stop at the RD&E?  Currently older and sick people using this route have to take a second bus to get to the hospital.

There are many buses going on its current route in Exeter via Heavitree so there would be no loss of service within the city.

Also a bus between 07.30 hrs and the next one at 10.00 hrs would be much appreciated for the same reason – getting to early appointments at RDE.

Devon NHS agrees to pay EU Settlement Scheme fees for NHS employees, in bid to keep key EU doctors and nurses – a welcome move, but the Government’s toxic anti-immigrant policies are working in the opposite direction

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The Devon NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership has agreed to pay EU Settlement Scheme fees for NHS employees. More than 1,200 people from the European Union work in the NHS in Devon, in essential roles such as doctors, nurses, domestics, health care assistants, and catering, administration and estates workers.

  • ‘We want to make it is as easy as possible for our European Union colleagues to stay in the UK so all NHS organisations in Devon will cover the cost of the EU Settlement Scheme application for their employees and their employees’ close family members,’ says the STP.

Their key message is, ‘Whatever the outcome of the Brexit process, the 1,200 people from the European Union who work in Devon’s NHS are hugely valued and we want them to stay.’ If only the Government weren’t sending out the opposite message, with Theresa May trying to stop anyone earning less than £30,000 a year (as many NHS workers do) from coming to the UK, and propagating toxic attitudes to Europe which are driving people out.

Shouldn’t we be looking again at community hospital beds, to support care-at-home model? Devon Conservatives squash recommendations of review chaired by Claire Wright

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Claire Wright writes: A recommendation urging no further community hospital bed closures in Devon has been voted down by Conservative councillors on Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee.

The recommendation, which was debated on Thursday (22 November) was part of a set of measures set out in a scrutiny spotlight review aimed at supporting the care at home service (or rapid response) to be more effective.

Highlighted in particular as a challenging area were services for end of life care, which have been put under considerable pressure, especially since the loss of community hospital beds. … read on at Claire’s blog

‘Very high risk’ of market capacity failing to meet Devon’s needs for adult social care, Health Scrutiny will be told on Thursday

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The Adult Care and Health Management Team’s report on Risk Management report to Thursday’s meeting of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee says: ‘one risk has increased to Very High from High, this being “Market Capacity: Adult Social Care (Personal Care)”.

The AC&H team comment:

  • The personal care market capacity remains under pressure across the county with levels of demand exceeding the supply. Where care cannot be sourced an interim contingency plan is always enacted that ensures the safety of any individual and may include temporary accommodation in a residential facility or drawing on other arrangements including informal networks of care and support. The risk is also heightened currently due to increased likelihood of provider failure. Members will be aware of a recent CQC formal notification to local authorities around Allied Healthcare of potential provider failure as an example of this.

    Our mitigating actions in this area which are predicated on joint working across the health and care system include

  1. Support the recruitment and retention of staff (including promotion of our Proud to Care initiative).
  2. Reduce demand on services by promoting and growing our short term offer that supports people back to independence in a timely way.
  3. Achieve greater efficiency by working with our contractors to minimise travelling time and make best use of our existing workforce.

Report of Seaton meeting with RD&E published

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Agreed notes from the meeting of Seaton Area Health Matters with the RD&E Trust are now on the Health Matters website.

A patient tells me of waiting 11 months for hip replacements in @RDEhospitals – and it’s going to get worse this winter. The RD&E boasted of cutting ‘elective admissions’ by 5 per cent last year, but this is a shameful failing of the Trust and @NEWDevonCCG.

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From a constituent: ‘I am writing to you with another example of the impact and stupidity of reducing beds in local community hospitals. I am presently on the waiting list for hip replacement surgery at the RD&E. This waiting list is currently 11 months, compared with the Government guidelines of 18 weeks. 

‘During a follow-up phone call with the RD&E last week, I was told that winter health problems were already causing a shortage of beds and the knock-on effect will be further delays for people on waiting lists for serious surgery. Clearly, beds in community hospitals could have been used to help with winter health emergencies.’

Hip replacements are called ‘elective surgery’ and the RD&E Trust boasted earlier this year that it had reduced the number of these admissions by 5 per cent. As I pointed out to the Health Scrutiny Committee at the time, this might be something to be pleased about if lifestyle changes, etc., meant that people didn’t need so many operations – but the evidence is to the contrary. It has been achieved by lengthening waiting lists for patients who suffer pain and discomfort for months or even years on end.

The lack of priority for ‘elective’ admissions is one of the most shameful failings of the NHS in Devon, alongside the mounting delays in treatment for cancer. Both these problems are repeatedly brushed under the carpet by local NHS leaders.