2007 Conference Update Report (Chris Stanners)

                                    Report on Bucks 50 Plus Conference in 2007

March 2008

 Dear Conference Attendee, 

We should like to keep you up-dated on the way we are taking forward the issues raised at the Bucks 50 Plus Conference in July 2007.

Sheila Davies, the Health Promotion Coordinator from Wycombe District Council and I arranged a meeting with  9 senior representatives from the social care services, the Primary Care Trust, and councillors and officers from the Bucks County Council and District Councils.

We presented an Action Plan to them which proposed that a series of workshops could be set up by the health, social care and community services corresponding to the five workshops from the Conference.  Representatives of those providing services, ‘the professionals’ would meet with older people who had attended the Conference to discuss how the problems raised could be addressed.  There was support for the idea but it was felt that the Older Persons’ Partnership Board (OPPB) should take responsibility for moving the proposal forward and Sheila and I were asked to make a presentation at the next meeting of the Board.

We were asked to show how the proposed workshops would fit in with the Board’s own action plan targets.  This we did in January 08.  (The Board meets every 2 months).   There was much discussion but the members of the Board felt there were already systems in place where the concerns of users of services can be heard about health, supported living, leisure and communities and that we should find a way to use these rather than risk duplication.  One of the Senior Officers from the Chiltern District Council had a suggestion about how this could be done and we will follow this through with him.  The one the area where it was felt there was no existing group was ‘Your Money ‘.  Sheila has been asked to set this up.

I have a meeting with the Head of Service Provision for Social Care Services, Kerry Stevens and the Cabinet Member Mike Colston in March to secure their help in moving the plans forward.   Mike chaired the Conference (and Kerry stood throughout!) and they are committed to getting your voices heard. We have also invited a new Joint Commissioner for Health to attend the next meeting of the Forum and we will work together on bringing forward the issues raised at the Conference.

 Meantime, some important steps have been taken: 

  • We invited the Manager from the Strategic Health Authority who is in charge of engaging the public in the re-design of health services to the January Meeting of the Bucks 50 Plus Forum.   He is involved in a national survey to say what people want of their health services in the next 2 years.  Some of the issues emerging were exactly those raised at our Conference such as

-          poor communication between health professionals

-          need for continuity in care

-          need for one person to oversee a patient’s care

-          need for information and signposting

            We gave him a copy of the Conference Report highlighting these issues.

            He will come back to us when the next stage of the consultation takes place,

            following up these nationally raised concerns.

    Meanwhile those of you with access to the Internet might like to see what the

    Government is trying to find out.  www.southcentral.nhs.uk/page.php?id=29

  • Concessionary fares:

Local OPAGs have been mounting their own campaigns against what they see as an unfair targeting of older people in reducing entitlements to taxi tokens and rail travel. 

The free bus pass to be nationally available from April is of no use where 

there are not appropriate bus services within Bucks.

Each of the three District Councils is making different arrangements for    

alternative travel which involve relinquishing the free bus pass.  We asked                        

            the Head of Access and Transport from Bucks County Council to the January       Meeting of the 50 Plus Forum  and he explained that under the present legislation District Councils  can set up their own schemes but there may be a move from Central Government to change that later this year.  He said he would take our concerns to the BCC and keep us informed.  Further consultation is planned.

  • Transport to health service venues:

This issue is being addressed in 4 workshops being run under a Government –funded initiative called SHAPE: Services Having All People Engaged.

The Bucks 50 Plus Forum is working with a team of consultants in service design and councillors, service managers, a GP Practice Manager and older people who use public transport.  The County Transport Officers are also attending the workshops and everyone is working on a project plan to develop a centralised information service which could co-ordinate appointments to hospitals and other health care centres, with information on bus and train times and fares; journey times; local voluntary community transport schemes etc.

This would build on a Government initiative called ‘Choose and Book’ which is intended to help patients choose where they want to have their treatment. 

Information on how they can get to the hospital or clinic would be a help in making their choices.  Working closely together with the ‘professionals’ has been challenging for them and for us, but a constructive outcome of how to ‘co-design’ services is emerging.

·         Changes to the A & E services at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals.

Marlow OPAG has secured the support of the local MP Paul Goodman in challenging the changes.  A meeting will be arranged for him and senior representatives of the hospitals to meet with OPAG members (all invited).

I hope you will see from this that the B 50 Plus Forum has been working very purposefully to bring the issues raised at the conference into an arena where they can be jointly worked on by our members and the professionals.

We will keep you informed as opportunities arise for you to join the action!

                                    Yours very sincerely,

                                               Chris Stanners


                                            Bucks 50 Plus Forum.