Find out how Healthwatch Devon responded to major proposals for rethinking community-based health and care services.


On 14th May 2014, NEW Devon CCG published its draft Strategic Framework document ‘Integrated, personal and sustainable: Community services for the 21st Century‘. The document set out a vision of how community services could be in future, and summed up the overall aim with this quote from the NHS England chief nursing officer:

 ‘As more people live into older age we need services which support people to remain as well as possible for as long as possible in their own homes and communities. The ambition is to increase the healthy years of life and reduce the social isolation.’

What we did

We called together Healthwatch Devon members, volunteers and delivery partners to work through the CCG’s plan, and think about what it meant to them.  We were delighted to get some important insights from people speaking from the perspective of patients, carers, and users of a range of community services.

We also trawled the Speak Out feedback that we have been getting all year from the general public, looking for your stories about your experiences of community-based health and care services.  This gave us powerful testimony, direct from the front line.

Our findings

We have a wealth of evidence about how people value the services they get, about the areas in which they think there is room for improvement, and about their hopes and fears for the future of those services.  Here are a few brief snapshots:

  • The geographical challenge – our feedback suggests that people will not necessarily go to their nearest hospital or health service. Their decision will be influenced by their local bus route or a past experience of care.
  • Continuity of Care – feedback indicates that care is not always communicated well or handed over effectively from one service to another. With services being redesigned, it is important that the patient remains at the centre of the process and that the quality of the care they receive whilst being transferred between agencies remains consistent and is not hindered by unnecessary delays or poor communication.
  • Care in the community – the evidence we hold suggests that some people living in rural parts of Devon struggle to find care staff, therefore work force sustainability should be considered with the proposed shift in direction to more home based care. Recruitment, training and retention of care staff within rural communities needs to be considered very carefully when the focus of care shifts from a service to home.

Follow up

Our report was submitted to NEW Devon CCG in July, and featured 10 key recommendations.  We are delighted to see that some of the points we have made have already been picked up by the CCG in its initial response.

You can read our full submission to the consultation here.

Read NEW Devon CCG’s initial response  to the consultation exercise here.

Read NEW Devon CCG’s response to our submission here.

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