Public meeting on local health services

The Osterley & Wyke Green Residents’ Association (OWGRA) held a public meeting in Isleworth & Syon Boys School on 27 February to discuss local NHS health provision including plans for the future.

The meeting opened with this five minute video from the King’s Fund which gives an overview of the organisation of the NHS.

The first presentation was from Rosalyn King from Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG) and Dr Julia Chalmers-Watson, a local GP, followed by Dr Iain Beveridge and Vanessa Sloane, senior medical and nursing staff from West Middlesex Hospital. These slides were part of the presentation.

Dr Julia Chalmers-Watson, Rosalyn King, & OWGRA Chairman Cliff Assi

Over 50 local residents braved the freezing and snowy winter weather to attend the meeting.
Ms King announced that from April 2018 HCCG would be directly responsible for commissioning GP services in Hounslow. Dr Chalmers-Watson listed the main challenges facing Hounslow eg

  • Over 30% of hospital inpatients could be treated elsewhere
  • 10% of patients discharged from hospital are readmitted within a month which is twice the national average
  • Young and working people and children account for most of the increase in A&E attendance
  • Significantly more people die from heart disease and stroke in Hounslow than the England average
  • Total cost for children’s continuing healthcare services has increased over 3½ times in 4 years

GP practices are changing. They are beginning to work together to provide a wider variety of services and to work more closely with mental health services, community nurses, physiotherapy and social care. Shortly, GP surgeries will be open 8-8 Mon-Fri. 50% of local practices will be open on Sat mornings by Oct 2018.

It is hard to recruit GPs in London. There will be a greater role for pharmacists in general practice to take on some of the work of GPs eg medicine reviews, asthma reviews and repeat prescriptions.

The new GP contract will include 26 different services such as care planning, diabetes care, enhanced hours surgeries, phlebotomy and spirometry. Targets will be set for practices to improve telephone access, patient satisfaction, confidence in managing one’s own health.

Recording of the presentation

 

These slides were used in the presentation about West Middlesex Hospial.

West Middlesex Hospital is broadly managing to meet the three main targets for hospitals:

  • 95% of patients seen in A&E within 4 hours (despite an 18% increase in patients seen in A&E in the first 2 months of 2018)
  • 92% of patients ‘Referred to Treatment’ within the 18-week target
  • cancer patients seen, diagnosed and on a treatment pathway within 62 days

West Mid ranks best in London for meeting these targets and is in the top ten for the UK.

Every day West Mid sees 500-600 patients of which 50-70 are admitted. West Mid has been running at 98% capacity this winter. Even so very few elective surgeries were cancelled – unlike many other hospitals.

Recording of the presentation

 

Q & A

The Q&A session was lively with a wide variety of questions and contributions.

It was asked if the cuts made and still to come mean that patients will suffer.

The response was to explain that the same services will not be delivered in the same way. More efficient approaches will be sought, eg treating patients outside of hospital, reducing duplication of diagnostic tests.

The HCCG is looking at starting to integrate medical and social care from April 2020 under the Accountable Care System (aka as Integrated Care); a decision on whether and how this will happen will be made in summer 2018.

About 50-60% of the HCCG budget is spent in hospitals, and the plan is to reduce this to spend more outside hospital and move some services into primary and community care.

People’s expectations of health care have changed as the population ages and the medical services on offer have changed.

In concluding the meeting chairman Peter Goulding said: “We’ve got a lot of good people working their socks off trying to provide the right services for us”. He said that there is not enough money in the system but that the new forms of cooperation will help to offset the problems this raises. Finally, he pointed out that everyone was invited to provide feedback and that the more people who responded the more likely it would be that we could influence the final changes decided.

One resident commented at the end of the meeting “I left feeling optimistic and proud of our health service professionals achieving so much with diminishing resources”.

Recording of the Q&A session