What impact has the public involvement had so far?
The public and stakeholder feedback which has been received through the review process included:
- Most members of the public understand why changes need to be made
- Some members of the public have concerns about consolidating some services (especially emergency care) but many agree that a specialised service might improve quality and safety standards and reduce the number of cancelled operations
- Some members of the public were happy to travel further for better care but some felt that other people (for example in our most rural areas or on a lower income) might be disadvantaged by having specialised services in fewer locations
- Some members of the public were concerned about a potential increased burden on the East Midlands Ambulance Service
Our most recent pre-consultation engagement, Healthy Conversation 2019, which ran for six months from March of that year, provided us with greater detail about the public’s views on the four services in this consultation. Specifically:
We heard that people in the Grantham area:
- Want 24/7 ‘walk in’ access to urgent care services at Grantham and District Hospital
- Support a centre of excellence for elective care at Grantham and District Hospital
We heard that people in the Boston area:
- Are concerned about travel time for people with symptoms of a suspected stroke if the service is consolidated at Lincoln County Hospital
We heard that people across Lincolnshire as a whole:
- Are concerned that Lincoln County Hospital may not be big enough to have more services moved there
- Are concerned that some patients, families and those from deprived backgrounds may have difficulty travelling to Lincoln County Hospital, exacerbated by general issues with road networks and public transport in the county
- Are worried about current difficulties in getting a GP appointment, and believe GPs and other services could be better linked
- Are concerned about the staff recruitment challenges faced by the NHS locally and nationally
As Healthy Conversation 2019 closed, we produced a full and final report. This can be found on our website and details all that we heard throughout this extended engagement exercise through completed questionnaires, face to face sessions and focus groups, visits to market days, freshers’ fayres and community groups and much more.
Since receiving this feedback, Lincolnshire’s NHS has continued to progress activity and improvements where possible, including:
- We have increased our collaborative working with local government to align NHS services with other locality plans, as demonstrated for example, through NHS support to the successful Town Fund
- We have invested in the digital delivery of health services, particularly GP access, to improve the availability of appointments and advice
- We have established a county-wide programme focused on the recruitment, retention and wellbeing of health and care staff in the county
- We have invested in the resourcing and development of ‘primary care networks’ to further improve general practice services in the county. It was this structure that played such a key role in enabling Lincolnshire to so successfully deploy our COVID vaccination programme
- Online recruitment events this year facilitated almost 250 health care support worker roles in Lincolnshire’s hospitals being offered to new staff and since lockdown guidelines eased, we have welcomed over 50 international nurses into the county, with more cohorts coming in the months ahead.
Equally important is the feedback from engagement work we undertook with communities who are seldom heard in traditional engagement activity. Also on our website is a report of the feedback received by The People’s Partnership, a specialist in this area of engagement, who engaged with a number of communities on behalf of Lincolnshire NHS. Key concerns reported were:
- Potential cost increase of travel if services move further away
- Limited public transport options for patients and family members who do not have access to a car
- The significant impact of greater travel time and distance to those who are disabled or frail
It is clear that the proposed changes may have more of an impact on certain age groups, people with a disability or those who are economically disadvantaged.
Details of the potential impact of proposed improvements identified by these Equality Impact Assessments are included in each service section on this website.
This is a summary of the engagement responses received so far. It does not attempt to describe every point made. A full report of the Healthy Conversation 2019 exercise and feedback, as well as the full Stage 1 and Stage 2 EIAs is available here.
We really welcome members of the public and other stakeholders continuing to share their views via this consultation, so that this feedback can continue to feed into the ongoing review and decision-making process.