This report was published at 10.00am on Monday 8 January 2018..
The committee to also receive a presentation.
3.1 The committee received a detailed presentation on the outcome of the consultation on this matter from the Associate Director Engagement and Experience Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG), and the Chief Executive Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS). (For information the presentation slides were uploaded to the council’s website and included in the Minute Book.)
3.2 The presentation included detail on the number of respondents, the quantitative and qualitative data, the main themes from the responses, and the demographic information of the respondents. The Chief Executive, GCS, informed the committee of the NHS response to the consultation outcome and the next steps for both the GCS and GCCG Boards.
3.3 The committee’s role in this stage of the development of community hospitals in the Forest of Dean was to confirm whether or not it was satisfied that the consultation process was appropriate, gave sufficient engagement opportunities for local communities; and to agree whether there were particular issues that it would wish the GCCG and GCS Boards to consider when they meet to agree the way forward later this month.
3.4 The committee engaged in a detailed debate on this matter. The main comments/questions/concerns related to:-
Ø The number of respondents to the consultation when compared to the population size
It was explained that although the response rate, 3344 questionnaires received, might seem low in comparison to the 85k population, this number was statistically significant. It was further explained that the number required for this to be statistically significant was a sample size of 383. It was also important to note that the GCCG and GCS had also undertaken a lot of work with town and parish councils alongside the survey.
Ø A lack of clarity relating to the citizen’s jury process
The committee was informed that GCS wanted this to be a neutral process. Membership would be drawn from a cross section of representatives from health, social care and the community. There would be opportunities for lobby groups to give evidence, but they would not be members of the panel.
Ø The lack of a specific location had impacted on people’s responses
It was acknowledged that this had been an issue for many of the survey respondents and had impacted on how they chose to respond. The Chief Executive, GCS, was clear that a specific site had not been identified as yet, and that there was still much to work through and consider before a final decision could be made. This would be guided and informed by the Citizen’s Jury.
Ø How did this proposal relate to the aims of the STP
The committee was informed that this proposal did reflect the direction of travel identified in the STP.
Ø There needed to be greater clarity/evidence for the number of beds, particularly given housing developments (and the impact of the removal of tolls from the Severn Bridge)
The Chief Executive, GCS, informed committee members that this had been a clear message through the consultation, and that GCS recognised that this was a significant area of concern. This issue would be worked through, and would need to reflect the needs of the residents of the Forest of Dean, and also reflect the aims of the STP.
Ø The views of STP partners on this proposal should have been identified in the outcome report
The committee was assured that partners were members of the review group on this matter and were closely involved in the case for change.
Ø This was an emotive issue for the residents of the Forest of Dean
This was acknowledged by GCS and the GCCG.
Ø Why was the idea for shared investment across the two current hospital sites not viable
The Chief Executive, GCS, informed the committee that this would not address all the issues. A significant factor was the ability to sustain services across the two sites; health and care professionals had fed this back through the consultation. It was explained that staff were doing a good job but under extreme pressure.
Ø Accessibility/transport issues
These issues would need to be further worked through when the location was known.
Ø Workforce issues
The Chief Executive, GCS, informed the committee that the ability to recruit and retain staff depended on the ability to deliver great services. It was also important to bear in mind that workforce issues related to both health and social care. The Chief Executive, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT) also explained that the current climate was very much a ‘buyers market’. The changes underway in Gloucestershire to provide improved models of care and better facilities would attract staff here. There was also a specific workforce workstream within the STP.
Ø Would there be further consultation when more detail on location and the number of beds was known.
The Chief Executive, GCS, informed the committee that GCS would be as transparent as possible with regard to the development of this proposal, but had not factored in any further consultation.
3.5 The committee welcomed the clarity of the comments in the consultation from Healthwatch Gloucestershire.
3.6 The committee acknowledged that GCS and the GCCG would be continuing to analyse and consider the detail of this consultation, and that there was still much to be discussed through the Citizen’s Jury.
3.7 The committee did agree that the consultation process was appropriate and gave sufficient engagement opportunities to local people. However members were clear that whilst supporting the consultation process they did have concerns and would be writing to the GCS and GCCG Boards outlining their main concerns. It was agreed that the content of this report be discussed and agreed through an online discussion, and that the issues raised would reflect those raised by members of the public through the consultation process.
3.8 The committee requested that GCS and GCCG informed committee members of progress on this matter on a regular basis.