This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 6 November, 2017
A health check of some hospital based services in South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield is underway, and set to make a number of recommendations when it finishes in April next year.
Doncaster patients have an important role to play in determining what those will be, so please make sure your voice is heard by getting involved. The five areas being focussed on are services for:
· Poorly children who need hospital care
· Pregnant women and mother-and-baby
· Urgent and emergency care
· Stomach and intestines conditions, including investigations
The decision to put them under the spotlight follows conversations with the public and detailed research by health workers.
This is the first step towards agreeing what needs to take place to ensure they can continue to provide lasting, safe, high quality care long into the future.
We are likely to see similar moves across many other areas of the NHS as we look for ways of overcoming the challenges that face us, including managing workforce shortages in the face of a rising demand for all aspects of health care.
A good example of where such work is taking place locally is the Doncaster Place Plan. It’s a way of bringing together under one ‘umbrella’ the NHS, Doncaster Council and other health and care organisations to look at ways of rolling out more services that can care for people at, or close to, home so they don’t need a stay in hospital.
Looking further afield, I’m pleased the review of hospital services is being independently led by Professor Chris Welsh, a former vascular surgeon who has spent many years delivering front-line care in our region. He has pledged to keep services local where possible. There will be a big focus on using existing staff, whilst potentially creating new opportunities to attract additional people to come and work in our hospitals.
Professor Welsh said this is not about closing local general hospitals, but an opportunity to improve care in light of what patients have told us is important to them. We know, for example, from the Better Births national report that people want maternity services provided in different ways. In South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield, healthcare staff have already started working with parents-to-be and others to turn these recommendations into reality.
In working collectively across South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield, there is a commitment to making sure local healthcare professionals, public and patients are fully involved in driving forward any changes.
At the end of the six months’ findings, recommendations will be made which, if accepted, will lead to a further public consultation.
In the meantime, Doncaster patients and residents can find out more by going to an information event at The Source, Meadowhall, Sheffield on Wednesday 6 December, 2017. Please email email@example.com or ring 0114 305 4487 for more details.