Oxfordshire hospital staff struggling with heavy workloads due to recruitment issues

Oxfordshire’s health and social care system has widespread issues with recruitment and retention, the CQC’s local review has found.

The report is one of 20 targeted reviews, examining how people move through the health and social care system, and how the services work together.

The reviews look at how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and home care agencies work together to provide seamless care for older people.

Whilst the Oxfordshire review found a strong ambition for organisations to work together, the regulator also warned that there was a “lack of strategic planning.”

However, the CQC found that staff were dedicated to supporting service users, their families and carers.

System leaders and frontline staff reported widespread issues with recruitment and retention of staff across the system.

Plans are currently in place to build affordable housing in the area in order to attract more health and social care workers to the area.

However, given that these plans would take time to implement, the review found that shorter term solutions should now be sought.

This team’s work has been reviewed by the Social Care Institute of Excellence, which has confirmed that there is positive work taking place.

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework 2016-17 showed that the number of older people who were satisfied with their care and support was slightly above average, however, when inspectors spoke to people and carers about the quality of their experiences they received mixed feedback.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of primary care services, said that there were some encouraging examples of shared approaches, but that not all services are fitting together effectively.

“System leaders need to improve how they work together more effectively to plan and deliver health and social care services for older people in Oxfordshire,” he continued.

He called for a review of how people move more effectively through the health and social care system: “Care pathways, the process of setting best practice for a patient, should be well-defined and understood throughout the system without any chance for confusion.

“It is important that system leaders continue to develop their approach to integration and also improve their working relationships beyond local partners and across the wider sustainability and transformation partnership.”

Oxfordshire health leads accept report recommendations

System leaders from Oxfordshire said they were happy with the improvements, but that they also accepted that there was work left to do.

Stuart Bell, chief executive of Oxford Health NHS FT commented: “We are pleased that the transformation board was seen to be providing a positive platform to support operational integration and we’re looking at how we as a system can work with the health and wellbeing board to achieve that.”

And CEO of Oxfordshire CCG Louise Patten added that she was pleased that the hard work of frontline staff was being recognised.

“We will review the recommendations carefully together and will develop an action plan that will mean patients and residents of Oxfordshire can have confidence that all parts of the health and care system are working together to improve their care,” she explained.

Philip Astle, chief operating officer of South Central Ambulance Service also stated: “South Central Ambulance Service is a key member of the system and I look forward, with our partners, to building upon areas of great innovative work and continuing on our journey towards excellent, sustainable health and social care.”

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