We all want the very best health and care for you and your family
While there are many examples of excellent care in mid and south Essex, we know we could do better. We don’t always reach the highest standards. We don’t always achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. We don’t always make the most of the talent we have in our workforce and the opportunities to find better ways of helping you and your family to stay well.
To achieve the very best health and care requires some changes for all of us as individuals as well as services.
- Some aspects of modern life are creating problems – poor diet and lack of exercise, for example, can lead to weight problems that cause serious illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
- People are living longer, but many more people are living with several different and often serious health and care needs. Dementia, for example is one of the main causes of disability later in life.
- Health and care for people with complex needs requires physical, mental and social care. The many different services in mid and south Essex do their best, but the system should be more joined-up to make it simpler and quicker to provide the right care.
- At the same time, information technology and innovation in care is creating more opportunities for care at home and close to where you live. For example, there are new types of monitoring devices for people with long term conditions, such as breathing problems, to spot the signs that your health is getting worse so that you can get help quickly.
Our current health and care system is becoming unsustainable
- Our hospitals, GPs and community services are under pressure to meet rising needs every year.
- We have a particular challenge in mid and south Essex to recruit and retain enough doctors, nurses, social workers and technical staff; and many people in our current workforce are reaching retirement age.
- This is not because we don’t have the money to fund more staff. The NHS in mid and south Essex currently has about 2,500 funded vacancies.
- There are national shortages of GPs, nurses, social workers and specialists, and we compete with London and Cambridge to attract people into mid and south Essex.
Some of the challenges facing our hospitals
- Our hospitals are seeing increasing numbers of people who come to the hospital with urgent needs. Sometimes, the only option available is to admit people into hospital, which may not always be the best answer to their problems. This can lead to people staying in hospital longer than necessary. At times, this delays appointments and bookings for people who are waiting for planned hospital treatment.
- In specialist services, advances in medicine bring new and ever higher standards that rely on teams of specialists being available round the clock. Currently, it is not always possible to ensure a full team of specialists available 24 hours a day at all three sites.
Our proposals for service changes in our hospitals aim to tackle these challenges by:
- Developing A&E and a wider range of urgent care at each hospital – to reduce delays for people coming into hospital
- Bringing specialist services together in one place – to ensure fast access to specialist care and better chances of making a good recovery
- Separating planned operations from emergency care – to reduce delays in planned operations and improve care quality.