We are proud of our local health and care services and the quality of care we currently provide, but the people of Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston need and deserve even better from these services.
Local NHS organisations and partner organisations have a shared vision of delivering truly integrated care that is delivered in the right place at the right time. But to do this, we need to take into consideration a number of challenges.
We face 5 key areas of challenge
- Patient experience
Watch our animation which explains these challenges in more detail.
Patient experience challenges
Our current health care system is often complex and confusing for patients to navigate. This can prevent patients from having real choice, and can often leave people frustrated by the lack of communication between services about their care.
We need to ensure that we join together records and communications systems so that patients don’t feel the ‘bumps’ in their journey; we need to deliver care as close to home as possible, and treat mental health with the same importance as physical health (that is, with ‘parity of esteem’).
Our population is living longer and experiencing more complex or multiple conditions. People should be supported to manage their own conditions at home or in the community, to help them maintain their independence, and there should be an increased focus on prevention. At the same time, medical and technological advances mean that fewer people should need to go to hospital for routine treatment.
We need to arrange health and care services in a way that makes them flexible enough to move with change in order to improve outcomes for patients, and so that only essential stays in hospital take place.
The demand on our health and care services is increasing but the budgets we hold are not keeping pace. The cost of providing services has risen for reasons such as providing care by more highly trained specialist staff, funding the latest drugs, and keeping up with technological advances, all of which are necessary to improve patient care and outcomes.
To ensure our services are sustainable we need to rebalance demand, modernise services and empower patients to make decisions and manage their own care.
We need to ensure that quality and safety of services remains top of the agenda, while finding improvements across the whole health and care system to enable the best use of the limited resources we hold.
Some clinical roles are experiencing national shortages, and Lancashire in particular has problems attracting clinical trainees when faced with competition from large cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. There is a high vacancy rate for health and care roles, which is managed through the employment of agency or temporary workers, but this is not sustainable for the future.
We need to look at the skill mix we have, the skill mix we need, and think radically about how the workforce could be arranged differently in the future.
Some of the estates used for health and care delivery are no longer fit for purpose. They were built for different times and needs, and can be a costly drain on the health and care economy. The outcomes for complex care are better if people are treated in a specialist centre, particularly for emergency care or major illness. Where possible, we would like many services to be provided close to, or in people’s homes, so that when hospital stays are required, they are much shorter.
We need to invest in, and modernise our estates so that they meet the needs of more effective health and care models.
There is clearly a real case for change, and as local health and care leaders, it is our responsibility to make this change happen. This is what the Our Health Our Care programme aims to do.