Agenda item

Healthwatch Update

Presented By:Baz Tameez


The Board received a report and presentation from Baz Tameez on the Healthwatch Staffordshire progress and update on current key insights and three deep dives.


The presentation provided details of current key highlights which Healthwatch was working with partners to address:


-      Continuing Health Care – the effectiveness and patient experiences

-      Potential to access cross border Mental Health services to reduce travel time

-      West Midlands Ambulance Services – reduced number of calls dealt with per shift due to demand and handover times

-      Non-Urgent Patient Transport – negative patient experiences for waiting and journey times

-      Stoke and Staffordshire neonatal mortality rate


Deep dives planned for 2024-2025 had been identified as:


-      999 Ambulance Service

-      Admissions Avoidance Schemes

-      Hospital Discharges


Dave Bassett provided an update on the 999 Ambulance Service deep dive which had begun in January. Healthwatch had been working with West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) to collaborate on this. The deep dive stemmed from ICB’s key metric for 23/24 was to reduce category 2 and 3 ambulance calls.


A Healthwatch patient experience survey had been initiated across the county to gather patient experiences on the service. This had received over 320 responses so far, with the highest response rates from the Moorlands and East Staffordshire. Patients were generally complimentary about the paramedics but anxious about wait times. Falls were reported to have the longest waits.


A list of the top reasons for calls to ambulances in the last week was provided, with falls being the fourth most common, followed by mental health and trauma. Data from January and February showed a direct correlation between the amount of time ambulances waited at hospitals and the time taken to respond to calls. WMAS had said referrals to alternatives to hospital admission are made when clinically safe to do so and reported they only transported 48.5% of the patients to hospital.


Councillor Sutton asked whether this issue was something which would benefit from an ICB whole system approach. Chris Bird responded to confirm the ICBs work with the NHS to review urgent care performance. Winter pressures at hospitals can contribute to longer ambulance handover times, but there had also been times when there were no ambulance queues and WMAS still had increased category 2 wait times as it was a multifaceted issue.  There were now regional protocols in place to initiate a set of actions if a patient had been waiting for 7 hours. If the wait reached 8 hours it was escalated to the NHS gold command to provide executive focus on these issues.


Ian Read informed the Board that the Fire Service had a response time of under 40 minutes for non-injury falls but challenges remained in channelling these calls through the system. The Fire Service had also recently started a hospital ‘discharge and settle in’ service from the Royal Stoke hospital and had undertaken over 300 since the service began in December.


Resolved – That the Board (a) comment on the key highlights and current themes being picked up by Healthwatch;


(b) consider and comment on the progress made by Healthwatch Staffordshire on the three deep dives.

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