"Change in community care"

About: NHS Sheffield CCG Northern General Hospital

(as a carer),

I am the carer for my husband, who has COPD and Bronchiectusis. It is quite advanced and necessitates oxygen 24 hrs. He has frequent admissions to N. G Hospital where, on the whole the care is good. My concern is the change in Community nursing which has taken place. He had for several years a case manager, who was excellent. She knew his health problems and his lungs better than his G. P. or his Consultant. She was able, because of her close knowledge of his condition, to keep him out of hospital. Now, in their wisdom, the "management " of Community nursing decided to finish with this tier of community nurse and for it to be part of a larger team where anyone from the team can pick up a call. This is so short sighted; it may look better initially on the budget but in the long run is wasteful as, someone else coming out to see him, who is not aufait with his condition is a) more likely to suggest calling out the G. P or b) instigate admission to hospital.

He has had the advantage of "Telehealth" which worked very well for us. However this again has changed for the worse. There appears to now be a triage system instead of the original system where an alert went straight to the Case Manager. This means a delay in the alert getting to the right place straight away and has twice now been referred to the wrong team which has meant a wait of a day and half before contact and also our calling out a G. P. Again I understand this is budget led but surely it costs more in hospital admission and/or G. P call out.

I must add however that I have nothing but praise for his former Case Manager, who will try to pick up the call if she sees it. Also for our excellent G. Ps and their receptionists at Shoreham Street and Baslow Road surgeries Sheffield.

One more thing to add is that recently (twice) now my husband has been sent home from hospital early to have IV antibiotics at home. Unfortunately it wasn't successful but we hope that in future it may be. However despite it not working I must say that the service we received and the wonderful team who came out to us were a credit to the NHS and I did write to their Manager at the Northern General Hospital to congratulate her on her team.

Sorry that I am having so much to say but good to get it off my chest and hope that it will help other patients and their carers cope with this awful condition.

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Response from Helen Mulholland, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience of your husband’s care, particularly about the changes in the Community Nursing team and the “Telehealth” triage system. Your experience is interesting in the difference that these changes have made to the care your husband has received.

We welcome your positive feedback about his former Case Manager and the team at your GP surgeries, as well as the home-based IV antibiotic system.

As you may be aware, we are currently developing a five-year respiratory strategy for the city, and feedback from patient and carers is an important element. Your comments are helpful and echo information we have heard from other people in the city. If you would like to be kept up to date with how we are using feedback, you can do so here: https://www.patientopinion.org.uk/blogposts/352/what-are-your-experiences-of-respiratory-care

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Response from Deborah Hopkinson, Patient Experience Co-ordinator, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback. Although we were delighted to hear your compliments concerning staff in our service, we were equally concerned to learn that things have not been running as smoothly as they could have been and in particular that the alert is not getting to the right place straight away and has twice been referred to the wrong team which has led to delays.

If you would wish us to look into this, please could you provide further details to our Patient Services Team on telephone number 0114 271 2400 or by emailing:

pst@sth.nhs.uk and a member of the team will be happy to assist. Kind regards.

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