Agenda item - Chair's Communications

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Agenda item

Chair's Communications

The Chair of the Board will start the meeting with a short update on recent developments on health and wellbeing.


61.1         The Chair outlined the following as part of his Chair’s communications:


Time to Change


61.2         The Board were very pleased to be able to support the Time to Change campaign which is focused on ending stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.


61.3         As this initiative focuses on what individuals and individual organisations can do, the Boards role was to encourage partners to engage with the campaign.


61.4         Councillor Caroline Penn, as lead councillor for mental health, signed the Employer Pledge and the Council Action Plan on 28th January this year.


61.5         Our Action Plan to support Time to Change includes awareness raising activities reviewing of our stress and wellbeing policies, information and advice, counselling and training opportunities for all staff.


South East Coast Ambulance Service – Patient Transport Service


61.6         At the last Board meeting a question was raised about the changes in Patient Transport Services which are currently provided by SECAmb. An updated was requested for this Board. This service is commissioned by High Wealds, Lewes and the Havens CCG led on behalf of the seven CCGs. This is their update.


61.7         In March 2014, the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) informed the Commissioners that it was not in the position to continue providing PTS in Sussex beyond the contract expiry date of 31 March 2015 under the existing terms. A one year extension was then agreed with SECAmb to continue delivering the service until 31 March 2016; to enable the seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to undertake a thorough and robust procurement process, supported by widespread engagement with members of the public, incumbent staff, and users of the current service.


61.8         A new service specification was developed, informed by the engagement to learn about people’s experiences of using PTS and how it could be improved.


61.9         Under NHS procurement rules, any potential provider capable of delivering a service was able to express an interest and bid. In this case, we did not receive any final bids from NHS or public sector providers to operate this service.


61.10      Following a transparent and robust competitive procurement process that directly included local patients and acute Trust representatives, the seven Sussex CCGs made a decision to appoint Coperforma Ltd to provide the new service. Coperforma has a proven track record of managing patient transport for the NHS, having provided services for hospital Trusts, CCGs and community and mental health service providers in London and Hampshire over the past five years. Coperforma will provide the service through its own patient booking hub, and use a network of local transport providers to deliver the service.


61.11      Patient safety is our number one priority. Coperforma is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and we are assured that it will provide a safe and high quality service for patients. Coperforma’s performance will be managed and monitored by the CCG in the same way as any other NHS contract. There is no evidence to support suggestions that the new service presents additional safety risks to users, and we are concerned that such statements may be causing unnecessary public alarm.


61.12      PTS is a vital service for many people who need help to attend appointments for medical reasons and requires fair and equitable access for every local resident. As such, we have redesigned the eligibility criteria and assessment process used to evaluate every individual’s medical need for PTS; removing automatic entitlement to PTS for any specific patient groups to ensure that every patient has an equal opportunity to receive PTS.


61.13      We recognise and appreciate the hard work and dedication of staff who have worked to deliver the current service and acknowledge this has been an uncertain time. We are continuing to work closely with incumbent PTS management staff and Coperforma to make necessary arrangements for the transfer of all incumbent staff to either Coperforma or one of its transport providers. The terms, conditions and pension rights for staff transferring to new employers will be protected under TUPE regulations. We do not anticipate any compulsory redundancies.


61.14      The budget for the new service has not been reduced and this is not a cost-cutting exercise. The CCGs are looking to commission a more innovative service that will make better use of resources and value for money, so it can deliver an improved experience for patients.


61.15      The CCGs feel assured that Coperforma will be able to deliver a high quality service for local people, resulting in shorter waiting times, reduced discharge delays, an easier booking process, better information and clearer eligibility rules.


61.16      We will continue working closely with local people, the current service providers (SECAmb and the Patient Transport Bureau (PTB)), Coperforma, and local NHS Trusts to ensure a smooth transition to the new service from 1 April 2016.


61.17      The Board has already highlighted that we would request an update from the new provider later in the year on performance.


SECAMB Chief Executive and Chair


61.18      If you watched the local news last night you would have seen that the Chief Executive of SECamb is currently on a leave of absence and the Chair has resigned. This is an issue of concern for the Board. We understand the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be monitoring this.

World Social Workers Day

61.19      Today is World Social Workers Day. Council social work staff teams are celebrating their work as well as showing people what social work is and does for our community. As part of the celebrations  there been an informal meeting with some of our social work staff where people could  hear more about a ‘day in the life’ of various members of our teams that work to support children, young people and their families across the city.


Tom Scanlon


61.20      Our Director of Public Health, Dr Tom Scanlon, will be leaving the council at the end of the month. This is therefore his last Health and Wellbeing Board. I would like to thank Tom for all the work he has done. The transfer of Public health back to the local authorities was made easier by his leadership.  We wish   him well in the future and thank him for his work in our city.


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