My report to council
Posted By: Dale Mulgrew
Date Posted: 17/10/2008
Thank you Mr Mayor for the opportunity to report to the Council the latest developments on various matters relating to the Health and Social Care Portfolio.
In July I travelled down with the interim director of adult care for a summit with Rochdale MP - Paul Rowen and the Minister for Care Services - Ivan Lewis MP.
The purpose of the meeting was to brief the Minister on the progress that Adult Care is making since the CSCI inspection at the end of last year.
Jim Wilson started the meeting by providing a re-assurance that good progress is being made on the improvement plan that was produced as a result of last year’s older people’s inspection, and that the problems as highlighted in that inspection were being tackled.
He also emphasised that as he had worked in many local authorities he had recognised that there was some good services in Rochdale, better performing than in other local authorities he had encountered, but there were services that he himself viewed as requiring improvement and were under-delivering. But he said that in view of the performance measures that the Minister would judge Rochdale on as part of the national performance indicator set, adult care were hitting all of them, including performing well on reviews, assessments and intermediate care through re-ablement.
I mentioned to the Minister that we probably had not adapted quick enough to the innovations that his Government is expecting local authorities to introduce and that it was his agenda on personal budgets that we are now committed to follow. In fact, I mentioned the target of 1980 individual personal budgets that we have been set by the Department of Health as a challenging one, and one we will have to really respond to and can only meet through changing the culture of the adult care service.
Learning Disability Service:
I was delighted to launch the new LD newsletter called ‘Speak out’ at the September LD partnership Board meeting. It is a great publication, which is well designed in a user friendly manner, and is edited by an editorial team consisting of LD service users facilitated by the Gateway Centre.
I was deeply impressed with the inclusion of all the different services and the first edition really embraced the multi-agency world that supports our LD communities. We hope though it can be even better as we will endeavour to include a timetable of events in each edition, with a shift to more pictorial accounts from individuals reporting on their experiences as the newsletter gets a wider reception.
Another development to reflect our continual strive to have meaningful engagement with our LD communities is the appointment of two LD service users has co-chairs of the partnership board. I was part of the interview panel and it was a real privilege to take part in such a rewarding process and I know some of the interviewees will have never been through such an experience. I think this clearly demonstrates that we are looking at ways we can improve our advocacy within this service and these appointments will ensure more service user involvement in the oversight of the board. This is really a major initiative and my continued role as mentor to these two co-chairs will display that this is not tokenism and will be treated seriously.
Services to Older People:
Tudor Court was re-launched on Oct 1st after a major period of refurbishment that was in response to a fire safety inspection that deemed the building’s historic layout as not compliant with modern safety regulations. A total sum of £300,000 was invested in this intermediate care facility to renovate the entire interior of the building over the time it was closed.
This resource centre alongside Meadowview resource centre will now once more enable the Borough to offer more intermediate care for people discharged from hospital, or who are referral in need of a period of rehabilitation. This service was noted as one of the major outstanding plus points in the older people’s inspection of last year. Not only was our intermediate care judged exemplary, but both service user outcomes and satisfaction was extremely high. Intermediate care is a real bridge to assist people getting back to independent living, a key plank of policy this LibDem administration is strongly committed to and advocating.
Electronic monitoring is a key tenet of our plans to modernise homesupport services and we are at the stage where providers of the technology have been identified and staff induction has been completed. The roll out will start at the end of the month and this will be of real benefit to service users. By using modern technology to our advantage it will inexorably improve the service delivery, removing the risk of some of the service deficiencies experienced before.
This is a good example of the work that is being achieved by a task group that is linking telecare to telehealth.
Finally, adult care services have seen real benefits for older people from the creative developments realised through the POPPS programme.
Opening of Milkstone & Deeplish LIFT centre
The opening of the second LIFT health centre was performed by the Secretary of State for Health – Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, who declared the naming of the building as ‘Nye Bevan House’.
It was a grand celebration of the future of health care delivery in the Borough, a striking display of the way we want to deliver health care in the community, and a beacon to the grand ambitions of trying to squash health care inequalities in the future. This will be a true health and well being centre as not only the health centre will accommodate clinical practitioners, but two dental suites will be installed, a café opened and run by MIND, and the locating of a raft of auxiliary services.
The Wardleworth and Heywood LIFT centres are in the process of design and construction, and a steering Group has been set up for the Middleton and Littleborough schemes. The face of primary health care in the Borough is radically changing, and only optimism should prevail.
Equitable Access Project:
The good news continues as we move to the execution phase on the project that will deliver new GP surgeries to Smallbridge, Balderstone, Heywood West and Central, and a new GP led health centre for Middleton.
I have taken a role on the management board for this project and take great pleasure in the news that contracts will be signed off by the end of the year, with the opening of these new health facilities very firmly on schedule for 1st Dec 2009. I acknowledge the stellar work of the project team who are working at a pace to deliver on these extra doctors for the Borough, which is not aided by the extremely tight and rigorous timeframe they are working under as directed by the DoH.
Health and Well Being Strategy:
We had a successful away day involving all stakeholders involved with the health and well being partnership of the LSP. This included a real mix, both from the world of statutory services and the world of the third sector. This was a useful repositioning exercise with an objective of reconnecting everyone to our shared values on health and well being, and establishing the aims of the work of this partnership within the new revised framework adopted by the Borough’s local strategic partnership.
HMR NHS Local commissioning strategy:
The PCT has embarked on formulating a new commissioning strategy as part of their vision to become a world class commissioner. This will see a line of demarcation between their commissioning functions and their provider functions, and more emphasis placed on prevention to increase life expectancy. Nonetheless, it is another essential element in their quest to improve the quality of health services they provide, and the Council has a responsibility to engage with this strategy so that beneficial joint work can be achieved. This will surely lead to better outcomes and a better use of resources.
Given the Audit Commission inspection earlier on in the year, the Council really needs to give strong corporate and political leadership on this agenda. It is concerning that one critical strand of this leadership - the elected members consultative group - has had less than optimal attendance of late.
Far from being a criticism, because I know members have busy schedules, it is rather a refocus on the high importance and significance of this group. At the last meeting when the entire SP team of staff came along to meet members of this group, only four Councillors were present and all of the same party affiliation.
We need to act together on an all-party footing to get behind this agenda, otherwise we cannot criticise officers if we are detached from an area of the Council’s work which affects the most vulnerable and needy of our Borough. In response we will look at varying the location and timing of meetings so that nominated Councillors from across the political divide and throughout the townships are enabled to really give the valued support that is required. This in turn radiates interest and gives an overall confidence that we can improve the performance of this service.
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