The views of the public collected by Healthwatch Oxfordshire have led to those who run health and social care services in the county making at least 80 changes to services, either by adjusting policies or introducing training.
Your views are presented through our reports or those of specialist groups, which we sponsor. Each report is promoted extensively in the local media and sent to the leaders of the organisations who can do something about the matters of concern raised, with a request that they tell us what action they are going to take.
At the end of each year we write back to each organisation asking them to update us on their progress with making the changes they promised. We then compile a detailed report that is presented to the Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to the Oxfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board and to the media in pursuit of our policy of transparency.
Updates at the end of 2017 showed that considerable progress has been made on earlier changes as a result of our Dignity in Care Report and our report and recommendations on delayed transfers of care from hospitals. Changes included:
• Oxfordshire County Council committed to: publishing performance data of individual care agencies showing the number of missed visits and late visits; developing customer standards for care homes, personal assistants, supported living, social workers and occupational therapists; incorporating dementia awareness into their training and changing the way it gives information and advice making it easier to understand.
• Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group raised £5m from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund for a range of projects to improve access to GP services, including longer appointments for complex problems, making it easier to get an urgent appointment for a minor ailment, wider training for health professionals in GP surgeries, online booking to see a doctor, an improvement in GP services in the evening and weekends and better telephone communication with patients.
• Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust committed to put mental health services in all secondary schools, established a patient experience and involvement strategy with patient input, carer awareness training in adult and older people’s mental health and children’s physical and mental health.
• Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust continues its work on improving delays in transfer of care through better information for patients moving to intermediate or home care, further revising its staff training on using translators and interpreters, raising awareness of and safeguarding training in female genital mutilation and the work of the Rose Clinic in this area.
• South Central Ambulance Service has continued paramedic services into the city centre on weekend evenings to avoid over-use of hospital accident and emergency departments.
• NHS England has committed to revising and re-issuing its guidance on using interpreters and translators to all primary care providers in Thames Valley.