HEALTHWATCH Essex – the independent charity that listens to and represents the voice of users of health and social care in Essex – has reacted to the announcement by the Success Regime that it has ‘decided to develop a revised model’.
Current Engagement Manager, and soon to be Chief Executive, of Healthwatch Essex, Dr David Sollis, said, “While in many ways the decision by the Success Regime to rule out the blanket redirection of all ‘blue light’ ambulances to Basildon is a welcome one, our question is ‘what next?’
“We applaud the fact they have listened to public opinion and that has contributed to the change in direction. Recently we submitted our research study about the three A&Es and we know this has helped inform their decision too.
“But my concern is – as we have said from day one – doing nothing is not an option. Now that people are engaged in this conversation, let’s keep the momentum going and work towards a consultation date that doesn’t move every couple of months.”
Healthwatch Essex completed their research study earlier this month, speaking to people at the three A&E departments and holding three workshops across Mid and South Essex exploring people’s views on the proposed A&E reforms.
“Among the findings were concerns about the perceived lack of openness about the process, questions about the ability of the workforce to deliver care in specialist centres, and community resources being unprepared,” explained Dr Alex Georgiadis, Research and Commissioning Manager at Healthwatch Essex.
The study will now be used by the Success Regime to evidence to NHS England the reasons for looking to change direction with the programme. Healthwatch Essex has also made two films, recorded a podcast and co-hosted an event to encourage all parties to work to get the public engaged with the Success Regime programme.
Les Lodge, Chair of Healthwatch Essex, said, “We have been proactive in helping to explain what the Success Regime is trying to achieve and we will continue to lend our support so that the people of Essex remain engaged. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact there is a real need for significant change to the way health and care is delivered in the mid and south of the county. Without that people won’t get access the services they need.
“Similarly, we shouldn’t ignore the very real financial imperative. If the NHS organisations in mid and south Essex carry on as they are the overspend will rise to over £400 million by 2020/21. It goes without saying that just isn’t sustainable and I dread to think of the sorts of changes that would need to be made to remedy that situation. Which all points to the need to get a plan together quickly and to stick to a timetable for consultation.”