With six weeks to go until Local Healthwatch is launched….
Recommendation 146 of the Francis Report raises a challenge for Local Authorities about the funding of Local Healthwatch:
146. Finance and oversight of Local Healthwatch
Local authorities should be required to pass over the centrally provided funds allocated to its Local Healthwatch, while requiring the latter to account to it for its stewardship of the money. Transparent respect for the independence of Local Healthwatch should not be allowed to inhibit a responsible local authority – or Healthwatch England as appropriate – intervening.
There has been a bit of debate on the blogosphere about what this recommendation means exactly. It isn’t enormously clear, and in today’s difficult financial climate, it seems unlikely and unrealistic that every local authority is going to pass on a somewhat undefined and non-ringfenced budget for their Local Healthwatch programme. But that does appear to be the challenge that Francis is putting forwards.
What is your local authority spending on Local Healthwatch?
In order to work out what your local authority has been allocated for Local Healthwatch, you need two bits of information: your LINks funding plus your Local Healthwatch funding. Here’s how you work it out*:
- LINks funding will be carried forward as the baseline for local Healthwatch funding. To find this figure for your area, look at this letter and find your local area for 2010-11.
- From April 2013-April 2014, the Department of Health will also make funding available for the ‘additional functions’ of Local Healthwatch. To find this figure for your area, look at this document and do a search for your Local Authority area.
Now do your sums: add up (1) the LINk allocation plus (2) the Local Healthwatch Allocation and find your answer. This figure is the indicative funding available for Local Healthwatch in your area.
Then you can do a little sum to work out what percentage of this allocation your local authority has actually allocated to Local Healthwatch (i.e. the value of the Local Healthwatch contract).
Other funding things that might confuse you:
There are additional funding ‘pots’ that some areas may be taking into account, but don’t let these confuse you! Essentially, they are:
- the start-up funding for Local Healthwatches (an additional amount of money provided by the Department of Health which is to fund the set up of Local Healthwatch) and;
- the ICAS (Independent Complaints Advocacy Service) funding. The ICAS funding and function ceases to be commissioned nationally in April and will be commissioned locally instead. In some areas, this funding pot has been rolled into the Local Healthwatch specification and funding, but in other areas it has not. Bear this in mind when you are doing your sums.
- Healthwatch Fact Pack on Funding: Not sure who wrote this factsheet (or when they wrote it), but it’s pretty comprehensive and answers a lot of questions about Local Healthwatch Funding. (It looks like it was written for Bexley Borough Council.)
- LINks Funding Allocations (dated 10 December 2007): Look at Year 3 for the LINk allocation for your area.
- Local Government Association Healthwatch Factsheet – Funding. This contains the indicative amounts for the additional functions of Local Healthwatch.
What to do with this data:
- Do your sums and work out what your Local Authority is spending on Local Healthwatch. What percentage of their funding allocation are they spending? Does your LINk consider this to be adequate? If not, then before it packs up its typewriter, your LINk might want to think about bringing these figures to the attention of your local Scrutiny committee.
I’m not entirely sure that the above sources of funding information are up-to-date – but they are all I could find. The documents seem very slippery and the funding allocations hard to pinpoint – and obviously, they are not ringfenced. But if anyone has any more information, do let us know and I will correct or amend the above info!
There’s a lot of new Healthwatch info being published – check out the new Healthwatch website at www.healthwatch.co.uk – and one of the many new tasks for Local Healthwatch is involvement with new patient-led inspections. The info about this seems a bit fragmented, so to be nice and helpful I thought I’d try to summarise it here.
Patient-led inspections?! How did that sneak into my Healthwatch basket?!
David Cameron announced in January of this year that current PEAT (Patient Environment Action Teams) inspections would be replaced by new patient-led inspections, which will be known as Patient-Led Assessments of the Care Environment or PLACE.
What are (… were … ) PEAT inspections?
PEAT inspections, as they are known, have been going on since 2000. PEAT stands for ‘Patient Environment Action Teams’. PEAT Teams are made up of NHS staff (such as nurses, matrons, doctors, catering managers, directors etc.) and also patients and patient representatives.
PEAT inspections are an annual event for all NHS sites that have more than 10 beds. The PEAT teams look at non-clinical aspects of patient care – such as the environment, food, privacy and dignity – basically everything from how clean the floor is to how tasty the jelly is…
NHS sites and trusts are given scores from 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (excellent). The idea is that the inspections produce scores for each site to encourage them to improve their services – and to share best practice.
How are the new PLACE assessments going to work?
The final details haven’t been decided yet – but the new assessments are being piloted this October. A total of 68 hospitals are currently involved in pilot PLACE assessments. The Pilot assessments will run from 1 October to 12 October 2012. You can read the documentation that the hospitals have been sent here. They will be similar to the current PEAT inspections but with more lay members/patients on the teams (over 50% of the team members must be patients).
How will Local Healthwatch be involved?
Local Healthwatch will of course be the ‘new consumer champion for health and social care’ – and hopefully a source of eager patient representatives champing at the bit to do This Sort Of Thing. Local Healthwatches – like LINks – will decide what work they get involved with so they might decide that they don’t want to get involved with the new PLACE assessments. But the initial message seems to be that Local Healthwatch should be invited to have a key role in the new PLACE assessments.
Which hospitals are taking part in the Pilot PLACE assessments?
Here’s a list of all the hospitals that are taking part (the list names the Trust and then the name of the hospital):
- Sheffield Children’s, Sheffield Children’s
- Salisbury NHSFT, Salisbury
- Avon And Wiltshire, Callington Road
- Worcester Acute, Redditch
- Birmingham And Solihull, Ardenleigh
- Royal Wolverhampton, New Cross
- Sheffield Teaching, Northern General
- Manchester Mh And Sc, Park House
- Morecambe Bay NHS FT, Royal Lancaster
- Leeds Teaching, St James
- Devon Partnership, Langdon
- Leicestershire Partnership, Evington Centre
- Nuffield, Plymouth
- Pennine Care, Fairfield General
- S/W Yorkshire Partnership, Fieldhead
- Bmi, Rochdale
- East Cheshire NHS Trust, Congleton
- Yeovil District NHSFT, Yeovil District
- Bedford Hospitals NHS Trust, Bedford
- Barking Havering And Redbridge, Queens Hospital
- Chesterfield Royal NHS FT, Chesterfield Royal
- Queen Victoria, Queen Victoria
- West London Mh, St Bernards
- Norfolk And Suffolk NHS FT, Hellesdon
- Birmingham Women’s, Birmingham Women’s
- Pennine Acute, North Manchester
- South West London And St Georges, Springfield
- Norfolk And Norwich, Norfolk And Norwich
- Kent And Medway Partnership, Thanet
- West Kent , Gravesham
- Uclh, Heart Hospital
- Southern Health, Parklands
- York Teaching, York
- Royal Brompton, Royal Brompton
- Royal Liverpool And Broadgreen, Royal Liverpool
- North Cumbria University, Cumberland Infirmary
- Central And N/W London, Park Royal
- Spire Healthcare, Harpenden
- Western Sussex, St Richards & Worthing
- Central Manchester, Central Manchester
- Medway Maritime NHSFT, Medway Maritime
- Dorset Healthcare, Blandford
- Gloucestershire, Cheltenham General
- South Tees, Friarage Hospital
- University Hospitals Bristol, St Micheals
- Southport And Ormskirk, Ormskirk
- South Warwickshire NHS FT, Leamington Spa
- Liverpool Heart And Chest, Liverpool Heart And Chest
- Tees Esk And Wear Valley, West Park
- Nottingham University, Nottingham City
- Humber NHS FT, East Riding Community
- Barts Health, Whipps Cross
- Cambridge University Hospitals, Addenbrookes
- North Staffs Combined, Harplands
- Plymouth Hospitals NHS T, Derriford
- 5 Boroughs Partnership, Hollins Park
- Royal National Orthopaedic, Stanmore
- Ramsay Healthcare, Colchester
- Anglian Community CIC, Clacton And Harwich
- Calderstones Partnership, Calderstones
- Surrey Community, Woking Community
- St Georges Healthcare, St Georges
- County Durham And Darlington (Ex County Durham PCT), Richardson Hospital
- Nottinghamshire Healthcare, Rampton High Secure
- Leicester University, Leicester Royal
- Papworth Hospital NHS FT, Papworth
- South Staffordshire An Shropshire Healthcare, St George’s
- Hinchingbrooke Healthcare, Hinchingbrooke
- County Durham And Darlington NHS FT, Darlington
Some useful links:
- Read all about PEAT – and download PEAT scores – on the NHS Information Centre website here.
- Find out more about PLACE inspections – including the info pack sent to the pilot hospitals – on the Associaton of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals website here.
What to do with this data:
- Make sure your LINk understands that PEAT inspections are changing and – once established – Local Healthwatch should be offered the chance to be involved in the new PLACE assessments.
- Check the list of Pilot areas to see whether your local hospital/s are involved. If so, get in touch with the hospital (ask for someone with ‘Director’ and ‘Nursing’ in their job title…) to ask whether you can be a part of the Pilot – or at least kept informed of developments.