KEEPTHEBEAT – A parent’s perspective on the Safe and Sustainable NHS review

Yesterday Adam Tansey, co-founder of the children’s charity ‘KEEP THE BEAT’, described his emotional journey with his youngest son, 4-year-old Albert, who was born with half a heart. From day one Tansey’s family have relied on the expertise and the Intensive Care Unit in Glenfield Hospital which have been key to keeping Albert alive especially for his unexpected turns for the very worst . Therefore Adam’s passion to do all that he can to save Glenfield Hospital is understandable especially seen as there has been debate over the validity of the data and techniques used to come to the decision to close the four childrens’ heart surgery units, Glenfield being one of them (more details about the Safe and Sustainable Review can be found on the NHS specialist services website, including the report of the public consultation).  It showed me that, through all the political wrangling and to-ing and fro-ing within the judical process, it is ultimately the lives of Albert, Adam and his family that will be affected. For them, losing this hospital will be devestating, a feeling many in boardrooms may have failed to realise.

To support Keep the Beat, supporting families affected by congenital heart defects,  visit http://www.keepthebeat.co.uk/site/index.php

A huge thanks to Adam for a very poignant talk.

My SAPC presentation: “But why is diversity data important?”

I presented on the topic of “non-clinical patient needs: mapping diversity in primary care”. Department of Health guidelines continue to emphasise the importance of seeing the patients as customers to a service, listening to them and catering to their requirements. For this to be done effectively within primary care organisations, they will need to have certain knowledge about their patients’ characteristics. There has been on-going interest to reduce health inequalities through using data intelligently, but less focus had been placed on  non-clinical data (e.g. age, sex, spoken language, ethnicity, employment status, learning difficulties, visual impairments etc.) and the inequalities to health that arise through patient cohorts with these diversity characteristics.  The annual GP surveys have reported a trend in certain patient cohorts who continually report back as being ‘underserved’. Therefore the idea of mapping out a practice’s population based on these needs may help a practice decide how best to allocate their resources (staff time and practice money) to reduce these inequalities. This could reduce inefficiencies in service provision by moving away from a ‘one size fits all’ even spread of services, or allocating services in an ad hoc fashion (as revealed through my interviews with practice staff), to making informed decisions based on real data. It is also key to think about these issues as we move to having Clinical Commissioning Groups or CCG’s nationally. Such data may lead to the smarter commissioning of services.