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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
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Trust Seeks Views on Community Services

Residents are being invited to share their views on the delivery of community nursing and therapy services provided by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

The Trust provides a range of nursing and therapy services which are delivered in community settings, many in patient’s own homes.  It is developing a project to ensure that care is provided in the most clinically appropriate place for everyone, that staff get to spend more time seeing their patients face to face, and at the same time reduces the overall cost of providing these services.  

Plans would provide the community teams with the opportunity to come together to promote better integration. There would be five community bases across the county which will provide the majority of inpatient and clinic-based activity. Home visits would still be provided where clinically appropriate and staff would also continue to maintain strong communications/presence with stakeholders such as GP’s to maintain vital working relationships.

But based on some feedback the Trust believes there could be real benefits in providing more treatment in a clinic; for example patient access to more complex equipment, reduced waiting times, more time spent with professionals, and will give people a more social experience where they can meet others in a similar position.

The theory behind this project is already being used in some areas. For example Well Leg Clinics, or leg clubs, are run in some parts of Worcestershire which specialises in caring for and preventing leg ulcers. Chronic leg conditions are associated with isolation and patients can now visit the clubs or clinics rather than have a home visit. Staff get to see more people in the clinic rather than travelling from home to home. 

The feedback from those who attend the leg clubs is overwhelmingly positive, with many citing the social aspect as key in improving the overall experience of treatment. But the Trust wants to engage with more people, including those patients who currently receive a home visit, their families/carers and other people who have an interest, to see whether more clinic-based treatment might be appropriate for more people. 

A questionnaire has been developed and is being handed to all current patients who are on the caseloads of community nursing and therapy teams, and an electronic version is available online for anyone else interested. Responses should be submitted or sent back before the 14th September. 

Dr Ian Douglas, from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “I believe it is appropriate that we explore whether this change in where we provide care to some of the patients that our community staff see is the right way forward. Everyone working in the NHS understands that because the cost of health care rises all the time local NHS teams needs to explore how it can do things differently. I know that there are some people who are seen at home by members of my team who also go to see their GP at the local surgery or go to see their Consultant at the hospital.   

“Patients may get more out of a visit to a clinic in comparison to being seen at home because they may see more than one professional when they are at the clinic and as a result more problems can be sorted out there and then. I think we also underestimate how much support and help patients can get from meeting other patients who are facing the same problems and challenges that they are facing.   

“For some people and their families there will be the inconvenience of getting to the clinic but this needs to be weighed up against the potential benefits not only for the person themselves but also for the people who are too unwell to leave their homes under any circumstances. These people may not currently be seen as often as they could be because professionals are spending time travelling to see patients who do not really need to be seen at home.” 

To find out more contact the Trust’s Engagement Team on 01905 681502