Maternity, mental health and learning disability services among priorities in South Yorkshire NHS plan

NHS South Yorkshire representatives presented a plan for the service’s future to local authority councillors this week.
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On Wednesday (23 August), representatives from Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham and Sheffield councils heard the priorities for NHS South Yorkshire’s five year forward plan.

The plan sets out the priorities for the regional NHS over the next five years including which services it will seek to improve.

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It was formulated using feedback from the service’s previous Integrated Care Plan (ICP), as well as various other methods of engagement with the community.

Doncaster Royal InfirmaryDoncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

NHS South Yorkshire identified the current largest challenges when it comes to healthcare in the region.

These included A&E delays, mental health placements being out of area, waiting times and increasing demand for primary care.

Seven key areas were selected which the service will prioritise improvements upon over the next five years:

  • Maternity, children and young people’s services
  • Primary care (GP services, primary care networks, community pharmacists, dentists etc)
  • Community services
  • Urgent and emergency care (developing alternatives to A&E, improving hospital flow and discharge times)
  • Cancer services (elective and diagnostic pathways)
  • Mental health services
  • Specialist services for learning disabilities and autism
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Representatives hope that through prioritising these areas, a variety of treatment outcomes will be improved.

Over 2.500 members of the community gave their thoughts on current services and their priorities in order for the plan to be formulated.

A variety of methods including online and face-to-face surveys, focus groups and street engagement were used to gather feedback.

NHS South Yorkshire identified three main areas that members value in terms of their healthcare.

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Most importantly, people value accessibility of services; being able to access appointments and treatments in a timely and convenient way.

This was particularly important in the case of GP appointments, with many continuing to struggle to access these.

Research found that people also value affordability in terms of the cost of transport, parking, prescriptions, treatments and the general cost of living healthy.

Members of the community also value agency, for example being able to choose their own care pathways, the research found.