Worry as new health plans cause concern for Derbyshire patients

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Belper based Healthwatch Derbyshire wants to give patients a voice after a new proposal for Joined Up Care has caused concern.

Healthwatch Derbyshire has called a meeting to discuss the plans for engaging local people with a new proposal submitted by Derby and Derbyshire Strategic Transformation Plan (STP).

Joined Up Care highlights what services are offered already, where gaps might be, and what changes should be considered to make sure care is offered in the best way for everyone, now and in the future.

Healthwatch Derbyshire chief executive Karen Ritchie explained: “There is no question that health and social care services are facing big challenges and that change needs to happen.”
The organisation, based at Riverside Business Centre on Foundry Lane, is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in the county and helps to shape and improve local health and social care in the community.

Ms Ritchie said: “The feedback we have received so far indicates that carers are particularly concerned about what the plan will mean for them.

“There is also concern amongst the wider public that there is currently no information as to how the new models of care will be financed, and concerns that beds will be closed before new services are up and running effectively. The perception that the development of the STP has been ‘behind closed doors’ has unfortunately led to public confidence in the process being significantly undermined.”

The watchdog will be pushing for; full disclosure about the proposals as they develop; publication of good quality information; meaningful engagement with patients, their representatives and carers.

Gary Thompson, senior responsible officer for the STP, Joined Up Care Derbyshire, said: “We’ve been keen to share our health and social care priorities with the people of Derbyshire, which was why we published our STP as soon as we were permitted to, in November last year.

“We’ve been working with Healthwatch Derby and Healthwatch Derbyshire to plan engagement events and provide easy ways for local people to find out more, and let us know what they think future health and social care services should look like.

“In the run up to our own events and conversations with Derbyshire people, we’ve also attended meetings in Belper and Matlock, to talk to interested members of the public and provide any updates.

“Findings from all events and feedback from the public will help shape detailed proposals which would then be developed.

“Our aim is to provide the best services for people so they get the care that suits their particular needs, close to home, rather than it being offered at a distance from a particular building.

“Any changes proposed to current services would involve local engagement and, if appropriate, consultation.

“Any consultation would follow legal guidance, and involve as many local people as possible.”