What this is about
The consultation was about the way in which NHS organisations and local authorities work together to design, provide and monitor NHS and social care services. At the moment, several different kinds of NHS organisation and the local authorities work together on a voluntary basis to try to make care more integrated (joined up) for the people receiving it.
NHS England (the national body responsible for the NHS) has been talking to lots of other national and local organisations about the best way to make sure care becomes more integrated in future. NHS England thinks that making a regional-level NHS body the one that has the duty and the funding to commission (buy) NHS services from NHS hospital Trusts, NHS community care Trusts and GP partnerships would be the best basis for a more secure arrangement for working together than the current non-binding partnership. In our area, the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West ‘BOB’ Integrated Care System is the regional-level partnership.
The alternative – which we think makes more sense – is a statutory equal partnership of NHS organisations and local authorities at regional level, with a legal basis for its main joint committee.
Our joint response to NHS England
The five Healthwatch in the BOB ICS have welcomed NHS England’s continuing intention to move towards more ‘integrated’ health and social care services that are more personalised, more ‘joined up’ and equally available to all local people, with reduced inequalities in access to care and in people’s health outcomes.
However, we have some concerns about these proposals.
The NHS England proposals do not say enough about how patients and social care users, families and unpaid carers will be heard and make a difference, nor about the statutory role of local Healthwatch and how that will be included into new regional and more local arrangements.
We have told NHS England that their proposals feel very ‘to down’ to us, rather than starting by thinking about a local resident who uses a local GP surgery, and thinking from there about the issues.
We are also disappointed that the timing of the consultation meant that we did not have a chance to ask local people to contribute their views through local Healthwatch. We know from listening people about the NHS Long Term Plan in the past that they do want to share views and experience and make a difference to strategic planning in health and care.
You can down load our summary response and the full response below