Healthwatch Bucks has joined with the four other local Healthwatch in Oxfordshire, Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire. This is in response to an important public consultation by NHS England.
What this is about
The consultation was about the way in which NHS organisations and local authorities work together. Also, 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 to try to make care more joined-up.
NHS England 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 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. In our area, the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West ‘BOB’ Integrated Care System is the regional-level partnership.
Our joint response to NHS England
The five Healthwatch in the BOB ICS have welcomed NHS England’s continuing intention to move towards a more integrated system and one which will be more joined-up and equally available to all local people.
However, we have some concerns about these proposals.
The NHS England proposals do not say enough about how patients and social care users will be heard. Nor about the statutory role of local Healthwatch. Also how that will be included in new regional and more local arrangements.
We have told NHS England that their proposals feel very ‘top-down’ to us. Rather than starting by thinking about local residents who use local GP surgeries and thinking from there about the issues.
Healthwatch is also disappointed that the timing of the consultation meant that we did not have a chance to ask local people to contribute their views. We know from listening to 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.