Agenda item - Healthwatch Brighton & Hove Annual Report 2018-19

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Agenda item

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove Annual Report 2018-19

Report of the Executive Lead, Strategy, Governance & law (copy attached)


27.1    This item was introduced by David Liley, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Brighton & Hove (HW).


27.2    Mr Liley introduced the HW annual report. In the past year HW has:


·         Sat on a number of bodies and committees

·         Focused on service reviews and service ‘audits’

·         Begun measuring the impact of HW projects by looking at what percentage of HW recommendations are implemented (this is now around 75% from around 30% in HW’s first year of operation)

·         Continued to do good work despite reduced funding, in large part due to the dedication of volunteers. Coping with reduced funding is a challenge, but HW recognises that this is a period of austerity and that many local HW organisations have seen deeper cuts to their budgets.

·         Made a number of recommendations to health and care commissioners and providers, but would particularly point to its work in improving the environment in A&E and in care homes.


27.3    In response to a question from Cllr McNair on the challenges of recruiting volunteers, Mr Liley told members that volunteer numbers vary from year to year. HW is actively seeking to broaden its recruitment, working with city universities and voluntary organisations, advertising opportunities, and reaching out to GP practice Patient Participation Groups (PPGs).


27.4    In answer to a query on provider resistance to HW conducting ‘enter & view’ visits, Mr Liley noted that there has been surprisingly little resistance. HW does have statutory powers to enter & view but has never had to use these powers.


27.5    Mr Liley told the committee that the quality of food provided in hospital settings remains a concern: everyone in the system wants hospital food to improve, and BSUH does have a positive history of responding to HW recommendations, so it is hoped that more progress will be made.


27.6    In response to a question from Cllr Powell on the provision of lockers for in-patients at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Mr Liley was unable to provide details of the relevant HW report at the meeting, but agreed to provide a written response.


27.7    In answer to questions from Cllr O’Quinn on HW’s work on oral health in care homes, Mr Liley told members that HW has not yet re-visited homes so it is unclear to what degree its recommendations have been implemented. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is aware of HW’s work on this issue, and indeed uses it as an example of best practice, so this is something that the CQC may itself pick up during future inspections.


27.8    Mr Liley told the committee that many local HW organisations conduct multiple visits to care homes. However, this is not necessarily an effective use of resources; the HW Brighton & Hove approach is to share intelligence with the CQC and with commissioners and to undertake targeted interventions where specific concerns have been raised.


27.9    Mr Liley told members of the excellent work undertaken by Young Healthwatch, with support from the YMCA; highlighting a forthcoming report on sexual health services and the work that Young Healthwatch has done to make safeguarding information more accessible to young people.


27.10  In response to a question from Cllr Knight on mapping inequalities, Mr Liley told members that HW does undertake diversity and equalities impacts on all projects, but there is more that could be done here. However, HW has limited resources.


27.11  In answer to a question from Cllr Grimshaw on HW ‘Listening Labs’, Mr Liley told members that these tend to be held around specific issues and may be in advice centres, YMCA centres, or delivered on the street. Mr Liley agreed to send Cllr Grimshaw more information on this.


27.12  Cllr McNair noted the high user satisfaction with city GP services. Mr Liley remarked that the latest GP survey results show even stronger satisfaction despite significant issues, particularly in terms of access.


27.13  In response to a question from Cllr Powell about HW links with the community & voluntary sector (CVS), Mr Liley told members that HW was very well-linked with the local CVS and also with HW organisations across Sussex. Mr Liley also suggested that the HOSC might wish to look at how effective BHCC and NHS engagement is with ‘hard to reach’ communities. Cllr Powell agreed, noting that it might also be useful to look at the accessibility of some hospital settings.


27.14  In answer to a query from Colin Vincent as to whether HW had ever escalated local issues to Healthwatch England or to the Secretary of State for Health, Mr Liley confirmed that some issues had been escalated: e.g. Sussex Patient Transport Services and Personal Independence Payments.


27.15  The Chair asked which issues HW would advise the HOSC to scrutinise, and Mr Liley suggested the following:


·         GP practice sustainability and the sustainability of the Primary Care Network (PCN) model;

·         Acute healthcare performance against national targets

·         Complaints & Advocacy (e.g. how to make the system less complex)

·         Unregulated (i.e. not regulated by the CQC) social care services: e.g. high support housing;

·         Equalities and engagement

·         End of life care.

Supporting documents:


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