Elderly suffer ‘poor quality experiences’ in Stoke-on-Trent Health and Social Care system

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A review carried out by the Care Quality Commission says elderly people in Stoke-on-Trent had ‘poor quality experiences’.

The health and social care system, led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group, are not working together to meet elders needs.

Over 65’s do not have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time, says CQC.

Older people ‘deteriorate’ from long waits in A&E, and delayed discharges cause further harm to their condition, which CQC says were avoidable.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said: “The local health and social care services have not been working together effectively.

“We have heard of a history of poor relationships across the system with limited joint working.

“The consequences are too many people ending up in hospital in the first place, or being unable to leave hospital because there are no support services available.

“Leading organisations in the health and social care system need to come together urgently to improve services for people.

“In particular, develop how the system works together to prevent people from requiring acute hospital care.”

The review states that people’s needs in the community were not reviewed as regularly as they should be.

Users would then be at risk of going into crisis when their needs changed.

The lack of GPs means patients are instantly being referred to A&E, putting pressure on the local hospital.

Paula Clarke, Chief Exec at University Hospitals of North Midlands said this winter is going to be difficult, and pleas to ensure elderly people will be treated with the care they deserve.

She added: “We can’t continue to allow the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly, to suffer long waits in A&E and to remain stranded in hospital beds because of a lack of community services.

“In the longer-term we look forward to working with partners to develop coordinated care to stop the older generation being admitted into a hospital bed and subsequently losing their independence, when they could be better treated in the community.”

Reviewers also said there was missed opportunity to release capacity in care homes once patient’s conditions had improved.

This ceases the opportunity for the services to be used by other people who need the care.

Caroline Donovan, Chief Executive, North Staffordshire Healthcare, NHS Trust said: “It is only by rapidly implementing a new vision of integrated, patient-centred care that the significant improvements to urgent care and lengthening delays in treatment can be remedied.”

Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The area is not without its own particular issues and it is important that we work closely across the system to join up our commissioning decisions to provide the right care in the right place for local people.”

Stoke-on-Trent Health and Wellbeing Board welcomes the review and says they will collectively accelerate improvements.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust said they are committed to working with its partners to improve care for residents.

The review is part of a national programme consisting of 20 assessments, called for by Secretaries of State for Health and Communities and Local Government.

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