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Watchdog praises health social care improvement for older people in Stoke-on-Trent.

A new Care Quality Commission report says health and social care systems in Stoke-on-Trent for older people have shown 'significant improvement'.

A review in 2017 found that services in the city were failing to meet needs of elderly patients, with the city council and health bodies failing to work together effectively. 

But in a follow up report published today, the CQC says that their concerns had been taken on board.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said: "We found that the culture had shifted and system leaders, including elected members, shared the same vision and were supportive of each other.

"There was greater transparency between leaders meaning they could address issues together. This had helped them to make progress and improve people’s experience of care.

“The quality of care in independent social care and how those commissioning care worked with providers of care had improved.

"There were no care homes, nursing homes or domiciliary care services rated as Inadequate and the percentage of nursing homes rated as Good had increased from 26 to 42%.

"There had been some good joint strategic work to develop plans for the coming winter of 2018/19 and patient flow through the Royal Stoke Hospital had improved considerably. System leaders were confident that they would be able to maintain this throughout the winter to cope with the additional pressures that would arise."

Marcus Warnes, accountable officer for Stoke-on-Trent CCG and the Staffordshire CCGs said: “Our patients aged over 65 need to have confidence that those responsible for their care are working together to make it the best it can possibly be.

“This reinspection confirms that a great deal of progress has been made during the last 12 months. This demonstrates the huge amount of work that has been put in by our frontline staff. It also reflects the absolute commitment from leaders to work together to meet the very significant health challenges that exist in the city, which have been well documented over many years.

“There is still a lot to do, particularly in the way we commission services from the voluntary sector, but there have been significant tangible strides made. These include the way we are working to ensure more patients are able to go home without delay once they are fit to leave hospital, and the improvement in the standard of nursing homes.

“This process has helped us improve the way we commission services and work with our partners to make a difference to patients.”

Paula Clark, UHNM chief executive, said: “Collectively, over the past year, UHNM and our partners have developed a strong and robust plan in preparation for winter pressures ensuring that there is enough capacity in our hospitals and community. This can already been seen at both our hospitals and particularly at Royal Stoke University Hospital with flow improving considerably.

“There will be challenging times ahead but we will still continue to make improvements to provide the health and social care system that the people of Stoke-on-Trent deserve.”

Councillor Ann James, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cabinet member for health and social care, said: “We very much welcome the findings of this review, which highlights the efforts we have made to improve services for older people in the city.

“While we are delighted with the progress being made, it doesn’t end here. We will continue to make sure we take all the necessary steps – including those identified in the review – to deliver the right care, in the right way and at the right time for our residents.”

The review makes a number of suggestions of areas for the local system to make further improvements:

  • The voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector needed to be better involved to support services towards an approach to take a more preventative approach towards the health and social care needs of the community. VCSE representatives, system leaders and managers acknowledged that this needed to be improved and the VCSE sector needed to be better involved in health and social care in the area.
  • Development of the workforce was happening in Staffordshire, linked to the Staffordshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), but some strategies to recruit staff had not been successful and were being repeated. Therefore improvement was needed to ensure more staff with the right skills were employed.
  • The Local System Review identified that integration across health and social care needed to be a priority.Key to the success of this would be improved information and data sharing across health and social care organisations.At the time of our review, there was a continued risk that people would have to tell their story many times and that professionals would not always be able to share the right information at the right time.
  • While the development of end of life pathway processes continues, system leaders should ensure that people who are in the last days of their lives are receiving the care they need in their preferred setting.

The full review can be found here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/local-systems-review

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