We are reminded daily that working our way through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s impact on every aspect of our life, from health and well-being to personal and national finances, means that we are likely to grapple with such challenges for another 18 months or two years or even for life? Certainly, until we have effective treatments and hopefully a vaccine (which then needs to be sourced, manufactured and rolled out).
Supporting the health of all patients in Wales with chronic conditions and who need regular monitoring, advice, support and treatment is hugely important. Bevan Advocates have raised this issue and reinforced the need for action and are now working with NHS Wales, Welsh Government and many of us across the country to maintain good care under such difficult circumstances.
In response to this scenario the Welsh Government and NHS Wales have established the “Maintaining Essential Services Group” who provide recommendations for the ongoing provision of essential services for people at risk. They gather feedback regularly from different stakeholder groups like the Patient Experience teams in each of the Health Boards, the Community Health Councils, and third sector organisations. They draw from this extensive range of input the key areas of concern that must be addressed.
Innovative approaches to service delivery are surfacing and will be assessed, with the most helpful ideas carried forward. The group are also seeking feedback on what patients consider the most effective new ways of working which may feed into long term NHS transformation.
We’re delighted that the Bevan Commission Advocate network (representing the public, patients, carers across Wales, supported and guided by the Bevan Commission) has been invited to be a key contributory stakeholder group. This is a great opportunity to increase the volume of the Bevan Commission patient and carer voices, utilising their knowledge to inform service needs. Their contribution to an ongoing dialogue will help make a real difference, ensuring that essential services for those with chronic conditions are tailored and maintained successfully to provide ongoing quality health and well-being for people accessing them.
The Advocates will give feedback fortnightly to the Maintaining Essential Services Group, and that group will provide a monthly report to all stakeholders outlining the highlights of their progress and recommendations. While not every piece of input or every suggestion will be acted upon, the diverse input from different groups gives an excellent opportunity for the NHS Wales group to triangulate feedback and obtain strong recommendations relating to concerns and innovations.
Why not add your voice, and become a Bevan Advocate?
Bevan Advocates are members of the public – patients, carers, and volunteers - who provide insights into the real, lived experiences of health and care to help to transform the NHS. The Bevan Commission’s programme welcomes new members who are passionate about contributing to health and care and making our NHS in Wales sustainable and fit for the future.
If you are interested in becoming a Bevan Advocate you can find out more here.
Barbara Chidgey is a Bevan Advocate, a shielded patient, Chair of Daring to Dream (a charitable fund to support the emotional health and well-being of patients), a professional doctoral student in leadership at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Executive Chair of the former Leading Wales Awards, and a former secondary school head teacher.
Follow Barbara on Twitter: @LeadinginWales