In November 2014, NHS North Kirklees CCG Governing Body heard from a local carer who shared her story and talked about the issues she faced whilst trying to care for her family member, looking after other members of her family and working full time. She told us it would be good to have a document that detailed what carers can expect from health and social care organisations.
Following on from this, we have worked with Kirklees Council, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local carers to develop a Carers Charter that is endorsed and championed by all providers of health and social care in Kirklees. To do this, we set up a small group with representatives from the three organisations and carers. The group gained the views of carers from across Kirklees to find out what they would want in a Carers Charter. Using the feedback from online surveys, events and meeting with carers groups the group developed a Carers Charter. In order to ensure that the pledges that organisations made were meaningful to carers and would bring about positive change, the group agreed that an accreditation process would be required. A Carers Panel will be responsible for the awarding of a Charter Mark and review of the awards. The Carers Charter (Kirklees) was shortlisted in the Commissioning Support Services category for a Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards.
We asked you to tell us your views on how services should be provided by GP practices, now and in the future. You told us that:
- You would like appointments to be available early in the morning and in the evening. The majority of you felt that weekend appointments should be available for urgent appointments only.
- You wanted to be able to book appointments in advance, either on the phone or online.
- You said you would be happy to speak to your GP or a health professional by phone, but most of you were not keen to use email or Skype.
- You wanted to have more services provided from your GP practice, such as physiotherapy, counselling and hospital-based services such as phlebotomy.
- You wanted to know more about the services available, when and how to access them.
- You said you would be willing to travel to another GP practice for an urgent appointment.
- You told us that you are happy to be triaged when you ring for an appointment, as long as the person doing this was a healthcare professional.
Your feedback was used to support the development of the CCG’s Primary Care Strategy 2016- 2021. The main five main themes of the strategy are:
- Access to care – easily accessible primary care services for all patients.
- Quality of care – consistent, high quality, effective, safe care delivered to all patients.
- Workforce sustainability – motivated, engaged and integrated workforce with the right skills, behaviours and training, available in the right numbers.
- Premises and infrastructure – premises and infrastructure which increase capacity for clinical services out of hospital and improve seven day access to effective care.
- Funding and contracting – Effective contracting models which are fairly and properly funded to deliver integration and positive health outcomes. Throughout all the transformation programmes, patient education is seen as the core. Education is seen to empower patients and will help them better understand how to navigate between the many sectors in the health care system. When unsure about where to go or what to do next, they will feel confident to ask for the information they need.
Musculoskeletal services (MSK)
We told you that we were looking at how we provide MSK services in the future and we wanted to know what your views were. You told us:
- You wanted to be able to access more services closer to home and for this service to be available at the evening and weekends.
- You didn’t want to have to tell your story over and over again.
- You wanted to be able to access a specialist quicker when you have a relapse or complication.
- There should be more support provided in a group setting.
We used your feedback to a new community MSK service. The new service offers:
- More flexible appointment times
- The option of follow-up support over the phone
- The ability for some patients to self-refer, without having to go back to their GP
- Reduced waiting times
- Faster referral to specialist hospital services where needed
- Community based group therapy
- A single point of access for referrers.
Adult Hearing Services
To help us plan for the development of the new service we wanted to know what you wanted.
You told us:
- You wanted the service to be available in the local community where you can easily access it by car or public transport. You also wanted support at home for those with mobility or other issues.
- You wanted to be offered follow-up appointments; this was seen as essential to allow for any adjustments, and to give you the opportunity to ask questions.
- You wanted to receive information earlier in advance of your appointment.
- You wanted to have information on what other supporting services are available.
- You wanted to receive replacement hearing aids quickly.
We used your feedback to develop a new Adult Hearing Service which will:
- Make sure that you receive information five days in advance of your appointment.
- Provide an information pack for patients on what other supporting services are available.
- Provide care in people’s homes where needed, including care homes.
- Report on how quickly hearing aids are replaced.
- Communicate better with GP practices and make sure GPs are aware of the eligibility criteria.
Over the counter medication on prescription
We asked you what you thought about people being able to obtain paracetamol, antihistamines and other over-the-counter medication on prescription, and whether these should be available on prescription. You told us:
- That you were surprised at how much it costs the NHS to prescribe over the counter medication.
- You didn’t want to stop people being able to obtain them on prescription, as you were concerned about the impact this would have on people who currently get free prescriptions or have long-term conditions.
- You felt that we should run a campaign to raise awareness of the costs and to encourage people to buy them rather than ask for them on prescription.
- You felt that we should also be raising awareness with GPs and not just the public.
We have developed an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the cost of prescribing over-the-counter medication and to encourage people to buy their own products if they have a short-term minor illness. The campaign is targeted at both the public and GPs. The campaign was launched in July 2016. To increase awareness of the campaign, we have been working with Healthwatch Kirklees who developed an animation to be shared via social media and used to support discussions with patients.