People who use NHS wheelchairs are playing a pivotal role in improving the service they receive as part of a raft of changes brought in by the NHS and Millbrook Healthcare.
The newly-formed Kent and Medway Service User Improvement Group will work with commissioners and the organisation running the wheelchair service for the county, Millbrook Healthcare, to ensure their concerns are listened to and the waiting list is reduced.
Millbrook Healthcare took over the contract to provide NHS-funded wheelchairs for children and adults on 1 April 2017 following a comprehensive procurement process. NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) manages the contract on behalf of the eight Kent and Medway CCGs.
In the past few months both organisations have agreed an improvement plan, with an extra £2million to go towards changes. And more than a dozen new members of staff have been recruited by Millbrook Healthcare. So far, the number of people waiting for a wheelchair repair has reduced by half, from 461 in July to 229 in September. An update of this work was shared at a recent meeting with Helen Whately MP, Damian Green MP and Kent County Councillor Roger Gough.
Caroline Selkirk, managing director for the four east Kent CCGs, said: “We are really very excited to be working closely with service users through the Service User Improvement Group to oversee Millbrook Healthcare’s delivery of their improvement plan. There are already early signs of service performance and quality improvement, and we shall continue to monitor these rigorously over the coming months as we know there is more to do to make sure all users receive an excellent service.
“We’ve had a very positive meeting with MPs who were pleased to see how we are working with service users to bring about the necessary changes. They were keen to understand the complexities in running such a service and the challenges we face. While these early signs are positive, we will carry on working with Millbrook Healthcare and service users to deliver a service we can all be proud of.”
Phillip Campling, managing director for Millbrook Healthcare, said: “By working in partnership with the NHS CCGs throughout Kent, we have now formed a service user group to help drive our improvements forward. Ensuring our service users, their families and carers remain at the heart of our service is our priority and we are looking forward to delivering ongoing service improvements with the user group and all our stakeholders.”