Earlier this year, the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust ran a series of six events to tell people about progress at the community hubs in Thame and Marlow, which we reported on last month. The Trust also wanted to hear views on plans for providing care closer to home in other parts of the county.
Healthwatch Bucks attended each meeting so that we could report back to you on the first steps in the new approach to joined-up working between health and social care in the county.
The meetings were held in Buckingham, Thame, Marlow, High Wycombe, Stoke Mandeville and Chalfont St Peter. Attendance was at best in Thame and Buckingham where about 50 people took part and most disappointing in High Wycombe where there were only six members of the public.
Our Healthwatch volunteers thought that the meetings were well presented and generated good levels of interest and participation.
The Trust’s explanation of the new ways of doing things was clear and most people were positive about the idea of local hubs. Jean’s story of how the pilot hub works in Marlow was particularly well received. You can see it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qK8k_Uj2Eo&t=24s
We would like many more local people to say what they think about how the proposed changes will affect them. Since the previous meetings have been attended by quite a small number of people, we welcome the Trust’s plans to talk to working-age families and people from different communities across the county.
We have also told the Trust that people are genuinely confused about who provides what services where. A clearer explanation would help underpin constructive conversation about what services should form part of a hub and what should be delivered elsewhere.
We also believe it’s important to improve communications in the two areas where the two hubs are already being piloted and that future public events address the issue of how people get to and from the hubs.
If you have a question or comment about the future of health and care services in Buckinghamshire, please contact us at Healthwatch Bucks and we’ll make sure your questions are answered and your opinion heard.