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Column 21st April 2021

Lack of communication with residents from health administrators

Tomorrow, Thursday 22 April, is the first ‘real’ Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) since February.

There was a meeting in March, but the only topic on that agenda was the Terms of Reference for a health scrutiny committee for health system-wide issues across the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) area.

Oxfordshire has lost direct control of its Health System with the creation of the BOB, with strategic decisions being taken at the BOB level and so scrutiny of those decisions at that level will be important.

The recent Government White Paper on the reform of the NHS does include the proposal to establish integrated care systems (ICSs) as statutory bodies in all parts of England and BOB is one of those, but it also gives NHS England oversight of all NHS Trusts.

In the meantime, while lots of money is spent on reorganisation, HOSC remains the body which scrutinises our NHS including Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH), Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHT) and the GP practices.

At the meeting tomorrow, they will receive a presentation on the key issues for the COVID-19 pandemic; discuss the re-procurement of physiotherapy services for when the contact with Healthshare expires in October 2022; receive an update on the Community Services Strategy; and discuss the final report of the OX12 Task and Finish Group and the response to that report.

Regular readers will know that when the Healthshare took over the physiotherapy services in 2017, they weren’t given access to use the Wantage Community Hospital and it took over two years to get those services reinstated.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

More importantly, the OX12 project into the Health and Care needs of the residents of OX12 (which took place in 2019) was scrutinised by the Task and Finish Group and their report has been a long time coming.

The report concludes that the OX12 project has failed as a result of poor management by the OCCG together with a poor level of engagement and communication with the residents of OX12.

The written response from the OCCG simply states that the outcomes of the OX12 report marked a point in time and the work to take this forward is now encompassed in the Community Services Strategy.

As I write this the Community Services Strategy hasn’t been published so I can’t say whether they are right or wrong, but without it there’s certainly a lack of communication.


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