What is Mapping the Future?
The West Kent ‘Mapping the Future’ programme aims to produce a future picture of the modern, efficient health care system that we need to provide for our residents. This picture will guide the detailed plans and decisions that the West Kent health and care commissioners and providers make over the next few years.
Who is involved?
The programme is co-ordinated by NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the new organisation responsible for planning and paying for healthcare in this area. Social care commissioners, and local service providers – Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Kent Community Health NHS Trust, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Trust, SECAmb and Kent County Council – are working with the CCG on developing the programme. The Health and Wellbeing Board and patient representatives will also be involved.
Why do we need to undertake this exercise now?
NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, which took on the role of commissioning services on 1 April 2013, has identified a number of reasons why now is the right time to take a radical look at the way health and social care services are provided in this area.
For most healthcare services in West Kent the quality of care is comparatively good, but there is scope for further improvement. For example people who receive both health and social care services say that they are not as well coordinated as they could be.
The people of West Kent need more healthcare year on year. Based on current trends, demand for healthcare will increase by 20 per cent over the next five years. The number of older people in the area is increasing, with clear consequences for the amount of healthcare we need to provide.
Looking ahead five years is vital – it’s no good just planning for today. By anticipating what lies ahead we are creating a window of opportunity to make significant shifts in approach, not in a hurry this year, but over a five-year period.
The NHS has been fortunate that its funding has not been cut. But the state of the economy nationally means West Kent will not get any growth in resources to fund this expected increase in demand for care, so there will be a significant financial gap if we do not address this situation.
There is more that can be done to keep people well – and people can also do more to look after their own health. There are ways of helping people to stay healthy, mobile and independent which are not always used consistently in West Kent. And we need to get better at identifying and diagnosing illness and diseases.
Looking at health and social care differently will give us all a chance to make sure that in future patients will get a more integrated approach to their care, leading to a much better experience of access to services, diagnosis and treatment plans.
There is clear evidence that we over-use hospitals. Many conditions are better treated in the community, and some people who are admitted to hospital stay longer than necessary. We have heard from patients and carers that their care is not always well co-ordinated, particularly if they have several physical or mental health problems. We are also aware that the way people are cared for as they approach the end of their life needs to improve, and that most people would prefer to die at home than in hospital.
What benefits will it bring?
Developing ideas for changes now will:
Ensure there is time for careful consideration and planning – this is leading to a five-year plan.
Give opportunity for local people to become involved in decisions about what should happen.
Provide commissioners – the CCG and others – with far better insight into the needs and wishes of the local community in terms of how they would like to see services, and into what can be achieved by working on this scale.
Enable services providers – hospital trusts, community services, the mental health trust and social care providers – to plan more effectively.
Put patients at the heart of the process so services are planned, commissioned and delivered in their very best interests.
Make it easier to co-ordinate care, especially for people with multiple health and/or social care needs.
Ensure resources are used wisely.
Lead to better patient care – that’s what it’s all about!
So what’s going to happen?
Early meetings have concluded that the best way to get the programme underway is to focus on four key areas:
Five meetings were planned and happened during May and June. These meetings were for clinicians, health professionals and patient representatives to review the evidence and develop some initial ideas for further discussion with health and care staff, voluntary and community organisations, patients and the public.
Following these discussions the CCG will produce draft plans for wider discussion with local people in the autumn.
Your feedback is needed
An overview document has been created which provides further detail on the Mapping the Future project and the current version of the ‘blue print’ or future plan for health and care services in west Kent. The overview document also poses four questions which we would welcome people’s feedback on.
To provide your response to the questions, please read the overview document and then complete the survey which is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mappingthefuture.