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Media statement – 29th January 2019

Media Statement

29th January 2019

Millbrook Healthcare Kent & Medway Wheelchair Service Statement Following Kent County Council’s Health Overview Scrutiny Committee Meeting (25th January 2019)

Following the meeting of the Kent County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) Millbrook Healthcare’s managing director Phillip Campling said, “Our improvement plan for the Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service, developed in co-operation with Kent and Medway CCGs and service users, is starting to deliver clear and ongoing improvements in reducing waiting lists for assessments and improving response times and our overall customer relations.

“We inherited a contract which had some issues around case load data. Millbrook then provided information that showed a higher level of complex need cases than was anticipated, and we successfully made the case for additional funding. So far, an extra £513,614 has been released by Thanet CCG as the lead commissioning group. We have been able to concentrate on reducing those complex cases and prioritising services for those who had been waiting a long time for assessments and repairs. This has been achieved by improving processes and recruiting more clinical and support staff.

“Looking at assessments, the reduction should be seen in the light of inheriting a significant waiting list with a higher mix of more complex needs cases than would normally be expected. To support the reduction of the waiting list, Millbrook have developed a new clinical model and rotas which significantly increase clinical capacity, as well as introducing additional resource and offering Saturday clinics. These improvement measures are paying dividends and it was reported to the service user group on 7th December that Millbrook’s assessment facilities saw 253 people in August 2017 and that figure had risen to 625 in November.

“I do realise that some people have been waiting too long for repairs, may not have been able to get the exact appointment date they wanted, or indeed may not have been engaged by our service yet. We also want to improve our first fix rates and make sure our service users get a much better customer experience from our field service engineers. These further improvements are clearly in our sights and are key parts of our Service Improvement Plan.”

Caroline Selkirk, managing director for the four east Kent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Millbrook Healthcare and the NHS have been working in partnership to bring improvements to the service for the past few months.

“This is a complex service with several challenges to overcome. Both Millbrook and the NHS agreed a thorough improvement plan and I am really pleased that we have seen a reduction in waiting lists and an improved response time.

“At the HOSC meeting we heard a request for a more detailed analysis of complaints data from the Wheelchair Service and working with Millbrook Healthcare we will ensure that this is provided as quickly as possible. We also recognise that this client group may not always use the formal complaints procedure so will work together with the service user group, civil society and advocacy organisations to understand issues associated with poor user experience.

“There is still more to be done and we will continue to work together and with service users to make sure that everyone receives an excellent service.”

At the most recent meeting with the service user group on 16th January it was agreed to create a Service Improvement Board (SIB) for Kent and Medway’s Wheelchair Service. This will involve service users and stakeholders strategically driving improvement from the detailed work of other service users, Millbrook Healthcare and the CCGs involved in steering groups. Those steering groups will cover areas such as repairs, complaints and engagement and communications. The steering groups and SIB will be recruiting service users and stakeholders to join them in the next few weeks.

The same meeting also discussed the development and delivery of an engagement and communications plan to make sure service user and stakeholder views are listened to and acted upon. Part of this will see the delivery of several open engagement meetings for service users and stakeholders across Kent and Medway in mid-March. The aim is to allow service users to share their positive and negative experiences and ideas for further improving the Kent and Medway Wheelchair Service.

The latest step in the engagement plan is the launch of a dedicated website for Kent and Medway’s Wheelchair Service that was developed with service user input, and from a successful platform already used in Hampshire. The new website is located at http://www.kentandmedwaywheelchairservice.co.uk/

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

Millbrook Healthcare was awarded Kent’s and Medway’s Wheelchair contract from April 2017. This contract is managed by Thanet CCG on behalf of the eight Kent and Medway CCGs. During the early months of contract delivery Millbrook Healthcare raised concerns about a larger than expected inherited caseload comprising a high complexity case mix which was impacting on the ability to deliver the contract.  Further data was provided by Millbrook and this identified discrepancies which needed to be understood and resolved prior to agreeing next steps. NHS Thanet CCG commissioned TIAA Ltd to undertake an independent audit to clarify the impact of the inherited backlog and identify whether there may be risks relating to business as usual.

The audit evidenced the backlog reported by Millbrook Healthcare confirming a significant number of patients had been waiting for more than 18 weeks at the commencement of the contract.  The audit also reported that the inherited waiting list included a higher complexity case mix requiring high cost and specialist equipment. In addition, a large backlog of repair jobs had built up, with service users experiencing unacceptably long waits for repairs.

In September, the eight Kent and Medway CCGs approved additional contract funding to enable Millbrook to clear the long waiting lists they had inherited, and that had grown during year one, and to rebalance the case mix. The positive impact of the additional funding and additional staffing put in place by Millbrook Healthcare is now being felt with a continuously improving service.

Media enquiries to Matt Rowlands on behalf of Millbrook Healthcare

matt@amppublicrelations.co.uk 0751 3002136