What is your experience of joined-up care? Tell us your story
What is your experience of joined-up care? Tell us your story!
Work is going on right now on producing a new health and social care plan for Cornwall. This plan aims to bring together services provided by very different organizations: the National Health Service, which incorporates a variety of providers, such as family doctors, the district nursing service, and the trusts that run acute and community hospitals; Cornwall Council, the local authority, which helps adults with social care needs and provides a range of children's services; and voluntary and charitable organizations (the 'third sector') which bring together volunteers in a wide variety of programmes to help people with practical living and social needs.
One thing that has come to light recently is that organizations and the people working in them are often not good at talking to one another. You may get admitted to hospital and find yourself in the care of a doctor who makes a diagnosis of what is wrong with you but may not have read notes that your family doctor has made. You may be at home with a wound that needs regular dressing and realise that you never know which district nurse is coming to visit you next. Each one may have different ideas about which dressing to use and how it should be applied. You may be in a bed at Treliske Hospital after an operation, waiting to move out to a community hospital for further treatment to get you up and about again, but no beds are available because the community hospitals are full. Also they don't keep records of how many people they turn away and there appears to be no incentive to make plans to increase their capacity.
As a patient you are on the receiving end when things like this happen, so you have a special contribution to make to the planning process that is taking place at the moment. You have a unique viewpoint and you have an 'all-round' view of the treatments you receive. As a result you're able to see how they fit together, or don't fit together, whereas all the professionals and charities working in their different areas have their own narrow view of you and the treatment you're being given. You know your history and background better than anyone else.
With work going on now to put together a health and social care plan in which services are integrated – joined-up – it is hugely important that patients' experiences of joined-up care are fed in to the process.
We want to gather patients' stories of when their care has failed to be joined-up, and equally stories of when it has been joined-up. There are lessons to be learned from successes as well as failures. We want to hear both, so please get in touch.*
All stories will be treated in strict confidence. Your name and any information that might identify you will never be divulged without your consent.
* The best way to get in touch is to send us an email using the Contact page on our website. If it would be more convenient to talk on the phone, include your phone number in your message, and we'll call you.