Our prescription for health
Like councils all over the country we now have a much bigger role when it comes to healthcare.
And, like all those other authorities, we quickly have to get to grips with one of thorniest issues of all – the pressure on accident and emergency teams in our local hospitals.
With less money from the government, our hospitals are struggling to cope. The A&E unit at Whiston sometimes has to turn people away, while waiting lists for treatment are getting longer.
So clearly something has to be done – and quickly.
And by the end of June we’ll be a lot closer to a solution. That’s when we have to sign off plans put together by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on how we’re going to tackle the accident and emergency situation.
It’s not been easy. It’s a really complex problem and any solution that we come up with is all about finding the right balance – between effective community health services and first class accident and emergency care.
What does that mean? In a nutshell it’s all about reducing the amount of people who go straight to A&E with a problem that could perhaps have been dealt with earlier in the healthcare system.
It’s also about every single one of us playing our part too. Perhaps we could sometimes take better care of ourselves or, if the situation arises, ask ourselves whether that trip to A&E is really necessary? Maybe it’s something that could be dealt with by our GP?
But our Adult Social Care Health & Care and Public Health teams have been working hard with the CCG and local GPs to find ways of easing this pressure.
There’s been a lot of work with care homes and nursing homes to ensure their residents’ needs are met in a timely and effective manner – lessening the need for unplanned emergency care.
There will also be reviews of every in-patient’s care plan, a clearer focus on discharging patients when they no longer need to remain in hospital and, overall, more concentration on patient ‘flow’.
The clock is ticking and we have to start making changes now so that we’re in a better position by the winter to deal with the seasonal surge in A&E admissions.
The council’s new role in healthcare gives us a great opportunity to make a difference. And together with our partners – the CCG, GPs and the other local authorities whose patients attend Whiston – we’re determined to raise healthcare standards for our residents.