The biggest issue within our town continues to be the proposed changes to our Health System. The financial pressures from an aging population, an increase in people with multiple long term conditions, alongside the National change in configuration of specialist services and the size of population they cover; have all fed into the development of the Mid and South Essex Strategic Transformation Partnership.
We have won a few battles and have changed some aspects of the STP plans; but there are a few major outstanding issues. The new pathways will mean that stroke patients will still be admitted to their local hospital for treatment but ALL will then be moved to a Specialist Unit in Basildon for 72 hours rehabilitation treatment. This was discovered under my questioning at the last Health and Wellbeing Board.
Previously we (the board) thought that just some patients would be moved. We have now agreed that we will visit to meet with the frontline stroke specialists within the next few weeks to get their views first hand. Bottom line is; if the frontline experts believe residents will have better outcomes after the change, then I will support it. I believe investment would have to be made in a new scanner for this change to be supported.
There is an argument to be made for locating this unit in Southend but that should be made AFTER
we decide if the change in pathway is right.
Transport for relatives and patients between hospitals is the next area I am scrutinising closely.
I have proposed that door to door transport for this small number of people would be cheaper than running an inefficient, clumsy bus service. The STP have agreed to consider this.
For the STP to work we need investment in the community. Three weeks ago I managed to get the local Clinical Commissioning Group to agree that having new Health Centres in Shoeburyness and St Luke’s was an “absolute priority”. My idea (despite what other politicians say… it was solely my idea) of the Council developing these centres, with the NHS using them on a long term lease, would be cheaper for the NHS, give an income to the Council, and give residents great services. A Win, Win, Win, Scenario. Since proposing this 3 years ago Thurrock have actually passed us and have already done this.
I have also helped to arrange a meeting of leaders within the Health System to meet to discuss the formation of a South East Essex Integrated Health Alliance. Including Southend, Rochford and Castle Point. The aim is to break down barriers in finance, data sharing and have joint objectives for the whole system rather than working in silos.
I was also pleased to attend the Essex University Partnership Trust Strategy away day. The future will see Mental Health working closer with GP’s, Social Workers and Voluntary Services to wrap around people within their localities. This should reduce crises situations and keep people out of
I was honoured to have the Minister for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt M.P. make a Political Visit to support my election campaign and to help launch the Love Southend NHS campaign alongside our local MP James Duddridge. He visited a number of health related outlets in Thorpe Bay and then the probable site for the Shoeburyness Health Centre. A private meeting with him and the Head of Adult Social care was also arranged to allow her to confidentially brief him on what would help her department to deliver better services. I then joined him and James D for lunch during which we discussed the improvements in Health System Working in our area. I was able to make the point, very bluntly, that there will need to be investment in localities and prevention services in the short run for the overall strategy to work in the long run.
I have been a robust critic of parts of the STP strategy but I am the strongest advocate for the need for the Health Service to change. We need to move away from the General Hospital concept that sucks in all the funds. We need an NHS that encompasses all aspects of care and delivers Primary care services in Southend that are fit for the 21st Century.
by Cllr James Moyies
Member of Southend Health & Wellbeing Board
Appointed Governor of Essex Partnership University Trust
(Mental Health and Community Services)
Ex Portfolio Holder for Health & Adult Social Care.