Information and Evidence
In this section, you can find out more about why healthcare services in Worcestershire need to change, about the models of care being discussed and how decisions for Worcestershire will be made.
Community events report July 2012
Nearly 400 people took part in discussion events in June and July. The personal views of the participants have been analysed to focus on common themes and these will taken into account in the decision making process.
Listening to the views of the people of Worcestershire is vital and we are committed to sharing information as we work through this challenge. We would like to thank those who took part in these valuable discussion events. We recognise the fact that people had a variety of concerns and this has given us an essential insight to inform the review.
As participants discussed the reasons given for change by local GPs and clinicians, there was a significant change in opinions. The proportion of those who agreed that changes were needed rose from 31 per cent before the discussion, to 55 per cent afterwards, compared with 26 per cent who still disagreed at the end of the discussions. People’s knowledge of the review also grew strongly from 18 per cent to 51 per cent over the course of the events.
Whilst no decision will be made until after the formal consultation, health leaders took the deliberate step of engaging the public early on initial models of care produced by local clinicians.
The report is now available below.
Why healthcare services need to change
The NHS is changing all across the country, including here in Worcestershire. The way the NHS runs, with much of our healthcare provided by hospitals, has changed little since it was set up. But demand for services is going up - we are older, more likely to be overweight, and are living with more long term conditions.
Worcestershire's elderly population is growing at 3% each year, more than the national average. A quarter of adults are obese and a further 40% are overweight. Obesity and age are high risk factors for long term conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
We know that doing things differently can lead to better outcomes for patients, using new technologies and medicines. We take it for granted that our services are safe, but safe, high quality services require specialist equipment and highly trained clinical staff. There are clear links between better outcomes for patients and the experience and expertise of staff. However, staff find it difficult to gain this expertise at smaller hospitals that see fewer patients with each condition.
In Worcestershire, we are struggling to recruit senior doctors with the skills we need in some areas, and we are relying on temporary staff. This means that staffing costs rise but temporary doctors might not have the specialist skills we would want.
At the same time, we are facing a growing pressure on funding and we need to make the same amount of money stretch further. The gap between the cost of meeting demand for services and the funding available will reach £200million for Worcestershire in 2014/15. While we are looking to meet as much of this by making efficiency savings, we don't expect to be able to meet this gap without reorganising some services.
Our challenge is to meet these challenges and continue to provide you with high quality, safe and affordable services as close to your home as possible.
What does high quality care look like?
Our clinicians think that high quality means that:
- you are treated by a clinical team with expertise in the relevant specialty
- you are seen by a specialist in your condition on the same day, or within 12 hours of being admitted, including at weekends
- the latest equipment is available to provide your diagnostic and other tests quickly
- your surgery is performed by experienced teams and that emergency surgery always has the back up of critical care teams
- your care at night time and weekends is by qualified staff to the same standard as during the day
- specialist children's doctors and nurses are available with the right facilities to care for your sick child
- midwife and specialist obstetrics care is available to you throughout your labour.
Working groups of clinicians have been discussing the challenges they face and the possible solutions across four main areas - elderly care, women and children's services, planned surgery and emergency care. Find out more about their discussions in our About the JSR section.
Potential clinical models of care
Six models of care have been developed to help shape discussions on how hospital services in Worcestershire could be provided in the future to ensure that they can provide safe, high quality and affordable care in the long term.
The range of services provided from each of the county’s hospitals differs in each of the potential clinical models but, as a minimum, each provides facilities to treat minor injuries, as well as outpatients and some diagnostic services in the towns where they are currently located, to ensure local access is maintained as far as possible. We have been asking you for your thoughts on these models and these opinions will be taken into account as the relative merits of each is assessed and evaluated.
To help decide on which models might provide the best way forward for Worcestershire, a set of criteria have been developed to assess and compare them and these will be used over the next few weeks as the models are narrowed down further.
Find out more about the six models of care and shortlisting criteria.
We will be continuing to talk to patients and partners as we go through this process. Options for change will be subject to full public consultation later in the year before a decision is made during 2013.