Agenda and minutes

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 21st September, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes

Contact: Martin Jenks  Senior Scrutiny Adviser


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 254 KB

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11.1     The minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2023 were agreed as a correct record.



Apologies for absence

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12.1     Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Christine Robinson, and Christine Brett.


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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13.1     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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14.1     There were no urgent items.


NHS Sussex Non Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) pdf icon PDF 298 KB

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15.1     The Committee considered a report on the delivery of the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) and the ongoing re-commissioning of the service. NEPTS is an eligibility driven service that is a statutory obligation for NHS commissioners to provide to transport patients to and from their healthcare appointments.

15.2     The Committee asked how NHS Sussex could guarantee the new provider would be able to deliver the service, given previous problems with the last procurement.

15.3     Maggie Keating, NHS Sussex Urgent and Emergency Care Programme Director recognised the previous problems from the previous procurement, and explained that there had been significant market and patient engagement throughout the creation of the new service specification. As a result of this and learning from the previous procurement NHS was in a strong position to avoid a similar problem with the new procurement.

15.4     The Committee noted that some people felt the eligibility criteria for NEPTS was set too high, which created issues for those on the borderline of being eligible and where services had been moved to single sites through reconfiguration.

15.5     Maggie Keating explained that the new national eligibility criteria had been subject to public consultations and should make more people eligible for the service. Part of the new service specification required the provider to signpost patients who weren’t eligible to a suitable alternative. The availability of voluntary sector support was inconsistent across Sussex, but NHS Sussex had worked with it to increase volunteer capacity, and ensure that as part of the new model patients would be assisted to find their own ways to healthcare settings.

15.6     The Committee asked how bidders would be evaluated on their capacity to meet the new service specifications, and what due diligence there would be to ensure the financial robustness of bidders.

15.7     Maggie Keating confirmed that these all formed parts of the information to tender questions that potential providers were asked as part of the bidding process to ensure they were organisations capable of delivering the service. Bidders were first evaluated on their organisational viability to ensure they met financial and legal thresholds that assured they were capable of delivering in an appropriate way. NHS Sussex were not prescriptive of the service operating model, meaning sub-contractors could potentially be used, however bidders were required to have the arrangements in place prior to the contract being agreed.

15.8     The Committee asked what review processes were in place for once the contract had been awarded.

15.9     Maggie Keating confirmed there were Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) running through the contract that would be looked at as standard contract management mechanisms.

15.10   The Committee asked how net zero ambitions would be built into the contract to ensure they were delivered on, and what would be done if the provider failed to meet the targets.

15.11   Maggie Keating confirmed that there was a very clear requirement for the provider to reach net zero delivery by the end of the contract in 2035, and a trajectory for achieving this target over the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Primary Care Networks (PCNs) - Update report pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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16.1     The Committee considered a report on Primary Care Networks (PCNs), which are groups of GP practices in East Sussex, following on from a report the Committee considered in March. There are twelve PCNs in East Sussex which include all GP practices, with the largest covering around 100,000 registered patients and the smallest covering around 28,000 patients.

16.2     The Committee asked what progress had been made in the recruitment of mental health clinicians and support staff, and the development of Emotional Wellbeing Services in Eastbourne.

16.3     Liz Davis, NHS Sussex Director of Primary Care, answered that some initiatives were locally led and PCNs were not specifically contracted to provide mental health services. PCNs were expected to work with local partners and stakeholders to develop appropriate mental health pathways and services. There was a primary care workforce hub that was working with all PCNs in East Sussex to encourage uptake of additional mental health staff under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). Jessica Britton, NHS Sussex Executive Managing Director, East Sussex, added that the staff to support the Emotional Wellbeing Services were being trained through the ARRS and developed in partnership with Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT), with the intention of introducing those services across all GP practices in East Sussex. The intention was for 90% of practices in Sussex to offer Emotional Wellbeing Services by the end of the financial year. Jessica agreed to provide further details on the rollout of these services in Eastbourne outside of the meeting.

16.4     The Committee asked how mental health ARRS staff connected to other local support services such as youth services and mental health support teams (MHSTs) in schools.

16.5     Jessica Britton answered that across Sussex there was the Mental Health Community Transformation Programme which took a strategic approach to expand the mental health support offer within communities, which included linking between MHSTs and access to talking therapies. As part of the Community Transformation Programme there was ongoing work in East Sussex to identify the totality of services that were available in a given locality to further join up support more comprehensively. Both physical and mental health support would be enhanced further around neighbourhoods in coming months and into next year as Integrated Community Teams were developed, and this would include links between schools and young people’s services that would improve integration between services.

16.6     The Committee asked whether any talking therapies would be delivered by non-clinical staff.

16.7     Jessica Britton confirmed that talking therapies would be delivered by trained mental health practitioners. The Emotional Wellbeing Services was a partnership with SPFT to oversee trained clinical professionals, but also a wider support from non-trained staff and voluntary and community sector to provide a more comprehensive offer. People would always be referred to the right service for them which offered support relative to their need.

16.8     The Committee asked about access to GPs where PCNs covered a large geographical footprint, noting that residents were being offered GP appointments in places far from where there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) - Building for our Future Hospital Redevelopment Programme update pdf icon PDF 294 KB

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17.1     The Committee considered a report on the ESHT Building for our Future Hospital Redevelopment Programme which covered a range of capital developments and plans for hospital redevelopment at ESHT as part of the Government’s New Hospitals Programme.

17.2     The Committee asked if ESHT were likely to receive a decision on the business cases and future investment as part of the New Hospitals Programme ahead of a General Election.

17.3     Tracey Rose, ESHT Programme Director Building for our Future – Hospital Redevelopment, answered that ESHT hoped to receive a decision before the next General Election and were working to submit the business cases at the earliest opportunity to help secure any investment.

17.4     The Committee asked for clarification on whether there would be a newly built hospital at Eastbourne as part of the programme.

17.5     Tracey Rose confirmed that ESHT were working with New Hospital Programme to explore different options, which included the possibility of a newly built hospital. Joe Chadwick-Bell, ESHT Chief Executive, added that the Trust were engaged in live discussions to produce a business case and were considering a range of options as would be expected as part of that process. Chris Hodgson, ESHT Director of Estates and Facilities, added that whatever option was eventually progressed there would be additional investment.

17.6     The Committee asked what plans there were to expand parking at the Bexhill Hospital, including the provision of more disabled parking bays.

17.7     Chris Hodgson confirmed that in addition to building works commencing in October 2023, there would be additional car parking facilities on the Bexhill site. The provision of parking would come in the next calendar year once the main scheme was close to completion. Chris confirmed he would look further into the provision of disabled bays ahead of works beginning.

17.8     The Committee asked for an update on the recruitment of a transport liaison officer in Bexhill.

17.9     Chris Hodgson confirmed that there was nothing to update but would come back with more information.

17.10   The Committee asked for an update on works at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and reassurance on the future provision of services at that site.

17.11   Joe Chadwick-Bell recognised potential concerns for people in Hastings when much of the focus remained on Eastbourne, but emphasised there was significant investment going into the Conquest. There were currently no plans to move any further services away from the Conquest and it remained a central site for a number acute services. Chris Hodgson, confirmed that the first stages of the Building for our Future programme were investment for business cases at Conquest, including two clinical departments and a multi-storey carpark. There had also been substantial recent capital funding allocated to Conquest for internal upgrades and refurbishment work which was often less visible. This has included two new MRI scanners and four new operating theatres. Chris offered to show interested members of the Committee around the site to help understand works that had taken place.

17.12   The Committee asked if future new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


HOSC future work programme pdf icon PDF 468 KB

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18.1     The Committee discussed the items on the future work programme.

18.2     The Committee noted that there remained outstanding unanswered questions on the impact of social prescribing in PCNs, and requested that is information be included in the future report on PCNs. The Committee requested that this include how many patients were being referred to ARRS social prescribing services, and what impact this was having on reducing need for acute care.

18.3     The Committee were aware of reports in the national media regarding NHS staff behaviour, and requested that that a report for information be circulated with the Committee to understand the extent of the issue locally and actions being taken to address it.

18.4     The Committee RESOLVED to:

1) Amend the work programme in line with paragraphs 15.18, 16.31 and 18.3 (above).


Any other items previously notified under agenda item 14

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19.1     None.