Agenda and minutes

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 22nd September, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes

Contact: Martin Jenks  Senior Scrutiny Adviser


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 30th June 2022 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

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9.1.      The minutes of the meeting held on 30 June 2022 were agreed as a correct record.


Apologies for absence

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10.1.    Apologies for absence were received from:

           Cllr Mary Barnes

           Cllr Mike Turner

           Jennifer Twist


Disclosures of interests

Disclosures by all members present of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.

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11.1.    There were no disclosures of interests.


Urgent items

Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgent.


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12.1.    There were none.


Hospital Handovers pdf icon PDF 298 KB

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13.1.    The Committee considered a report providing an update on the work being undertaken to reduce Hospital Handover times between South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust’s (SECAmb) ambulances and the Emergency Departments (ED) of the three hospital trusts that provide services to East Sussex residents.

13.2.    The Committee asked why performance at the Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) was an outlier compared to other hospital trusts, particularly given conveyances to the hospital had not increased recently, and asked whether enough was being done to improve the service when compared to the number of actions being taken elsewhere.

13.3.    Harvey McEnroe, Managing Director for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), said UHS accepts that the RSCH continues to be an outlier in its handover performance, despite improvements in other hospitals owned by UHS. There are three reasons for this:

1.    the challenges with the estate restricting the flow of patients through the ED, made worse by COVID-19 infection prevention measures restricting how the corridors are managed;

2.    the increasing acuity of patients presenting at the ED via ambulance makes it more complicated to manage them, having a knock-on effect to admissions, despite the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC) streaming off lower acuity capacity; and

3.    the flow of admissions through and out of the hospital, including delays in discharging patients, has a knock on effect on the flow of patients from ambulances into the ED. The hospitals improvement programme is aiming to improve the flow of patients within the hospital, but there is a wider system issue with the number of Medically Fit for Discharge (MFD) patients waiting for discharge, which has not improved as much as other UHS-run hospitals.

13.4.    There is an additional issue of the fatigue of staff following an extremely difficult winter and summer and the lingering effects of COVID-19. This limits the extent to which staff can respond to changes in the ED. He clarified they are being helped as much as possible through the process. 

13.5.    Harvey McEnroe explained that the Trust is developing an Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement Plan for RSCH that will set out plans to improve patient flow. The top priority for UHS is to eradicate the 60-minute handover delays and then prioritise 30-minute handovers. The relationship between the ED Team and SECAmb has dramatically improved over the past 6-8 months, in part driven by the implementation of Fit 2 Sit and the Full Capacity Protocol (which moves people out of ED to prioritise the ambulance crews), and by replacing the culture of seeing the ambulance queue as an extension of the ED and treating them as a priority. Ray Savage confirmed SECAmb is working incredibly hard with UHS to expedite handovers at the RSCH, including embedding a member of staff in the department during busy periods to assist ED teams. He added that handovers are a system wide issue and often delays in the ED are caused by the delays in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


South East Coast Ambulance Foundation NHS Trust (SECAmb) Care Quality Commission (CQC) Report pdf icon PDF 389 KB

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14.1.    The Committee considered a report providing an overview of SECAmb’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) report findings, following a rating of inadequate in the well-led domain, and the Trust’s Improvement Plan.

14.2.    The Committee asked how staff are involved in the improvement plan.

14.3.    Matthew Webb, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and System Engagement, confirmed SECAmb is absolutely listening to staff and not just transmitting to them. The Trust has now spent the last 6 months listening to staff, as it began its improvement journey last year through the ‘Better By Design’ programme prior to the release of the CQC report in June. Matthew Webb said that Better By Design did not address all the concerns identified by the CQC Report but demonstrated there was a recognition of the fundamental concerns and issues that needed to be addressed as an organisation. He confirmed the Trust recognises staff can contribute to each of the four improvement pillars and are helping to co-design them. There are also leadership visits being undertaken by middle managers and Board members to meet staff and listen to their challenges and concerns, as well as opportunities for staff to communicate via email with executives and receive a response to their concerns. Cultural change will take time, so in the short term ahead of winter, the Trust is aiming to ensure staff have the right toolset, resources and support to enable them to respond to patients effectively.

14.4.    The Committee asked when SECAmb is aiming to exit the Recovery Support Programme (RSP).

14.5.    Matthew Webb explained the Trust has worked through a number of criteria with NHS England covering how it will exit the Recovery Support Programme (RSP). It is working towards a period of 9-12 months before it will leave the RSP, at the earliest. However, a target end date is currently being agreed with NHS England and commissioners. The CQC has also issued warning notices that must be achieved by November 2022. Issues around culture, however, will likely take 24 months or more to fix.

14.6.    The Committee asked why the Trust’s CQC rating slid backwards to inadequate following achieving good in 2019, and asked what reassurance could be given it will not happen again.

14.7.    Matthew Webb agreed that the Trust made a number of improvements between 2016 to 2019, however, it did not as an organisation maintain or sustain them. This is because at the time SECAmb developed a CQC Action Plan to rectify the issues raised by the CQC, which it treated it as a transactional plan to satisfy the CQC’s warning notices. This time, however, SECAmb has developed an Improvement Plan, which is a long term plan recognising the significant journey the Trust is on not just to address the cultural issues raised by the CQC, but also to improve the quality of care it provides and develop the best support it can to staff. The Improvement Plan aims to ensure these changes are embedded and sustained over the long term.

14.8.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) pdf icon PDF 383 KB

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15.1.    The Committee considered a report providing an update on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in East Sussex, including the progress being made to reduce assessment waiting times and the impact of additional investment in CAMHS on service provision and performance.

15.2.    The Committee asked how young people on the waiting list are monitored and kept safe whilst they await an assessment.

15.3.    Jessica Britton explained that significant resources have been prioritised locally in 2021/22 and 2022/23 to support specialist CAMHS services, particularly eating disorder services and the neurodiversity assessment pathway. There is a programme of work to understand the resources and staffing required to meet the demands of the waiting list and there will be a significant piece of work to support it.

15.4.    Alison Wallis said that CAMHS is a needs-led service meaning those young people who are most unwell do get seen more quickly. This results in a number of young people who are not as high priority being on the routine waiting list. All referrals are via the Single Point of Access and Advice (SPoA) and if there is not sufficient information from the referral to prioritise the patient, the referrer, patient, or their parents will be contacted to understand how quickly they need to be seen. Alison Wallis set out some of the support provided to children and young people, and their families, once on the waiting list, including:

           SPFT sends clear information to the family about who they should contact if they become more concerned about their child;

           NHS Sussex has also commissioned AMAZE to provide navigation support for parents for the support they can give their children whilst they wait;

           SPFT sets clear expectations of the service families will receive and how CAMHS will meet them;

           If someone is concerned about the deterioration, they can contact the Duty Team that have slots available for longer consultations with the child, both over the phone or face to face;

           Families are proactively contacted every six months to see if there are any concerns or change in their child’s presentation; if so, it will be reviewed;

           A lead practitioner is assigned to a young person who is waiting if there are concerns about them. The Lead Practitioner regularly contacts the child, their family and those in close contact with both, such as social workers or schools, to develop an understanding of how the child is functioning to see if there is a need to do something about that child’s priority within the waiting list;

           CAMHS has multi-agency conversations with social care, schools and youth offending services to discuss how best to support a child if necessary, including an evidence-based intervention from CAMHS, or community support that can reduce their symptoms;

           Work is also underway as a partnership with a local university to develop training on how to support people with neurodevelopmental disorders in their home setting, in order to help understand how best  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


HOSC future work programme pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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16.1.    The Committee considered its work programme.

16.2.    The Committee RESOLVED to agree its work programme.


Any other items previously notified under agenda item 4

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17.1.    There were none.