UPDATED: Local plans for improving health and care services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are the bedrock of a programme for transforming local health and care services and ensuring they remain sustainable in the future.
The plans have been developed over years of engagement across the area about how to achieve the changes that local people and clinicians have said they want.
As a result of these plans, patients in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will benefit from more health and care services being provided closer to or in their homes over the next 5 years. They will have more choice about when and where to receive treatment, less travelling time to attend appointments and less time waiting for appointments, diagnostic tests and test results. They will also have more opportunities to be cared for at home and in the community rather than in a hospital setting.
The programme, which has been developed by all the health and care organisations across the area, also describes how the local NHS will implement a number of critical national programmes, including the Five Year Forward View for mental health and for general practice.
The plan does not replace or slow down local transformation programmes. Instead, organisations have come together to do the things that can only be achieved by working in partnership. For example, acute hospital NHS Trusts are building an alliance to improve outcomes for all residents while managing within the finances that will be available in the future. If NHS organisations across Hampshire and Isle of Wight do nothing to change the rising demand for services and the way they are provided, by 2020/21 there will be a gap of £577 million between the money received and what is needed. This gap does not take account of the challenges that also face social care.
Working together also allows the local health and care system to better share best practice and to ensure co-ordination when local changes are made.
The plan covers a period of 5 years from 2016 to 2021 and, while there are some changes that can be made quickly, others will take longer to develop and require substantial engagement and, where appropriate, formal consultation with local people before they can be implemented, such as the future provision of acute services in north and mid Hampshire and how to ensure that people living on the Isle of Wight have sustainable hospital services.
Over the next weeks, each statutory organisation involved will receive the plan for discussion at their public Board meeting. The plan will also be discussed at meetings of the local health and wellbeing boards across the area.
Over the coming months, NHS organisations will engage fully with local people, predominately through the significant number of existing arrangements for engagement in place across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. If, after this engagement period, any proposal emerges that is considered to represent significant service change, there will also be a full consultation with local citizens and stakeholders.
Karen Baker, CEO at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has said:
“We already work closely with mainland organisations. Our Ophthalmology and Audiology services are provided by consultants employed by University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust run the renal service at St. Mary’s. Many Islanders who have a heart attack are also treated at the Queen Alexandra Hospital (QAH) in Portsmouth – a treatment which has cut the time in hospital from around 10 to 2 days. There is more we can do to ensure that Islanders get an improved quality of service by working more closely with mainland Trusts.
“The Solent Acute Alliance comprising University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Lymington Hospital will help to drive this partnership working forward. We need to find ways to enable our staff to work across all three organisations to make the best possible use of their skills, especially in specialist areas that are difficult to recruit to. This will help ensure that patients do not have to travel further than is necessary.
“We want more flexibility in the healthcare system so that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can see patients in any of the hospitals in the Solent Acute Alliance. This needs standardised operational procedures and will help ensure that the best quality service is offered across the area. Although a small number of patients may have to go to Southampton or Portsmouth for in-patient treatment my expectation is that their initial assessment and any follow-up appointments can be managed on the Island instead of the current situation where all appointments for some areas of treatment are held on the mainland. This will balance the numbers out meaning the overall number of patients having to travel will not increase. With regards to maternity services and the Emergency Department these services will always be needed on the Island all the time we don’t have a ‘fixed link’. However both those services can benefit from the Solent Acute Alliance and partnership working across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”