LETTER: Public must have their say on joined up care plans

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Following the launch last week of Derby and Derbyshire’s local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (entitled Joined Up Care) – I must reiterate the need for patients and the public to have their say about the proposed changes to health and social care services at the earliest opportunity.

So far there has been limited engagement with the public on this agenda and my concern is that this is likely to lead to mistrust and scepticism about the plans.

The local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)for Derbyshire and Derby, has involved health and social care organisations working together more closely than ever before to look at how services could and should run over the next five years.

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.

It’s no secret that the health and social care services we all rely on, e.g. our hospitals, GP practices and care homes, are facing big challenges.

This is due to a combination of a growing and ageing population, people with more long-term, complex conditions, and a challenging economic climate.

There is no doubt that change needs to happen and Healthwatch Derbyshire’s role in this is to ensure that patients, and members of the public, have the opportunity to input their views into the process.

To date there has been very little input into the STP plan in Derbyshire from patients and the public, due to strict timescales, but this needs to change.

Now the plan has been published, we need to have an open and transparent public debate about the reasons behind the Joined Up Care plan and the potential scenarios for change. If the plan is designed to meet the needs of the local population, it needs to include them in the design and delivery of services.

Healthwatch Derbyshire has been assured by officers leading on the plan that over the coming months there will be plenty of opportunities for

local people to find out more and share their views on what they think health and social care services should look like. We are currently discussing the detail of how this will

happen.

Anyone who would like to know more can contact Healthwatch Derbyshire, or visit the website, where regular updates will be published on the process – www.healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk

Karen Ritchie

Chief executive officer

Healthwatch 
Derbyshire