This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 3 April, 2017.
As Chair of the Clinical Commissioning Group, I spend a lot of time reading reports and diagrams relating to the services we organise and fund for Doncaster patients.
Are they effective and making a difference? Can we improve them? Are patients happy with them? These are some of the many questions I ask myself as I sift through the data.
In Doncaster we’re making big changes to the local health and social care sector as we bring some services out of hospitals and provide them in community settings where it’s safe and efficient to do so. Patients tell us they want to live independently at home for as long as possible so, with our partner organisations, we’re introducing services that can support them.
It sounds good in theory. But what do the people who use these services think? It’s important to get patient feedback, it helps keep us on track.
That’s why I was pleased to learn about 84-year-old Joan Wilson’s experience of Doncaster’s new fast response service. It helped get her back on her feet after she fell at the Intake home she’s lived in for 60 years and doesn’t want to leave.
Great-grandma, Joan, slipped and fell, and over the next couple of hours managed to inch her way along the floor to the phone to alert one of her four children, who all live some distance away. He rang a neighbour, who contacted Yorkshire Ambulance Service, and paramedics were quickly on scene.
No bones were broken but former nurse Joan was shaken and bruised, so they called in the Rapid Response Service (RRS). It’s a new multi-skilled team of NHS, Doncaster Council and other staff who care for people who don’t need admitting to hospital as they can easily be looked after in their own bed.
A physiotherapist and care worker assessed Joan to make sure she was safe to be cared for at home, and specialist bathroom equipment was provided to help her. She was also given an electronic ‘alert’ pendant to wear around her neck, which is linked to a 24-hour control room at Doncaster Council. If she gets into difficulties in future, all she has to do is press it to contact them.
Support worker Lisa Shelbourne, from Doncaster’s Short Term Enablement Programme (STEPs,) has been making regular visits, initially to help Joan get dressed and with meals. But a few weeks on she’s been able to step back and have a less hands-on role as Joan successfully progresses with her recovery and gets back into a regular routine.
Joan said she enjoys living in her own home and doesn’t want to go into a residential home, but without this new service she doesn’t know what she would have done as her family live so far away.
That’s what I like to hear. It tells me we’re getting it right.