Health and care system needs more planning, says Banbury MP

Banbury prospective parliamentary candidate Victoria Prentis NNL-150826-094619001
Banbury prospective parliamentary candidate Victoria Prentis NNL-150826-094619001

NHS bosses have not been sufficiently proactive in planning health and social care, Banbury MP Victoria Prentis said this week.

Mrs Prentis spoke out after the Care Quality Commission - a health inspection organisation - released its findings on the Oxfordshire system of health and social care.

The inspection, undertaken last November, looked at how people move through the health and social care system and was especially focussed on how services work together.

The services ranged from hospitals and community health services to GP practices, care homes and homecare agencies. The inspection gauged how these services work together to provide seamless care for older people.

And while they found that good relationships were being forged, inspectors said more development is required.

Mrs Prentis said: “The lack of a joined-up, forward thinking vision for our local health and social care system has been an ongoing concern for me so the CQC’s findings come as no surprise.

“We have suffered for too long with a system where providers are reactive not proactive in their decisions, are difficult to communicate with and are unable to articulate a truly innovative plan for the future of healthcare in Oxfordshire.

“This report is the reality check the system needed.”

The CQC report said: “Health and social care professionals were highly dedicated to supporting people using services, their families and carers. While Oxfordshire has a history of public engagement, feedback has sometimes indicated this has not always been effective.”

The CQC found

* mixed feedback from people and carers about the quality of their experiences

* Plans were in place to build and adapt properties that could remain a person’s home for life and support longer term independence

* Plans to build affordable housing to establish a more sustainable workforce will take time. CQC inspectors found shorter term solutions were being sought

* There was a focus on job and career prospects, to manage and support the acute care system and provide seven day care preventative services. Despite this support, staff in the hospital setting continued to report heavy workloads with additional pressures over meeting performance targets.

Prof Steve Field said: “Our review of Oxfordshire’s services - and how they work together - found some encouraging examples of shared approaches, but not all services are fitting together effectively. System leaders need to improve how they work together more effectively to plan and deliver health and social care services.

“There needs to be a review of how people move more effectively through the... system. Care pathways, the process of setting best practice for a patient, should be well-defined and understood throughout the system without any chance for confusion.”

Keith Strangwood, chairman of Keep the Horton General, said systems must be made seamless quickly to give assurance that NHS downgrading of district and community hospitals does not end in disaster.

“We expect Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s plans for phase two of the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan will include further downgrade of the Horton, closure of community hospitals and more ‘care closer to home’.

“That care should already be in place - and seamless - and should not take the place of local acute services.”