Our health and care services.

We need to provide better joined up care. Too often we focus on each particular illness or need separately, rather than the individual. Our care should be joined up with the person at its heart, and local with teams working together. That will help us tackle inequalities in service in different areas and communities as well.

But small changes won’t deliver that. Instead we’re working across the whole system.

Learn more about what needs to change:

Urgent and emergency care
  • Too many people are in hospital for too long - it’s not good for them and it’s costly; sometimes they don’t need to be there at all
  • Expert stroke doctors tell us that our acute stroke services would provide better outcomes for patients if they were concentrated in fewer places
  • There aren’t enough staff to run rehabilitation services in our community hospitals, and ...
  • Patients and staff say the system is complicated and confusing
  • Patients often spend time recovering from illness in our 13 community hospitals. These hospitals are mostly relatively small and it has been increasingly difficult to recruit the staff needed to enable them to operate safely
Long term health conditions and frailty
  • Support for staying healthy in later life could be better
  • Care needs to be centred around the needs of the individual, with support for them to manage their own conditions better
  • People aren’t diagnosed early enough
  • Health care for some conditions isn’t always managed as early as it should be which can create unnecessary crises for patients, and ...
  • Services for people who are frail differ across Somerset and aren’t joined up
  • Our timescales for treatment don’t always meet national standards
  • Better accessibility to services that diagnose and screen for cancer for everyone is essential; there are currently some gaps
  • Greater support and awareness for changes in lifestyles linked to cancer and early identification of potential symptoms, and ...
  • Treatment for people with cancer should be centred around the needs of the patient, with fewer delays
Planned care
  • Tests for diagnosis aren’t always carried out within the 6 weeks required to meet national standards and patient need
  • People are often waiting too long for treatment; in some non-urgent specialities the time can be up to a year
  • Clinical staff in some of our smaller specialisms are spread thinly, which makes providing a local service difficult, and …
  • Outpatient services are outdated and inefficient in the way specialist consultant time is used; the experience for patients should be better.
Mental health and learning disabilities
  • We have gaps in community mental health services which means people aren’t supported in their own homes, and puts pressure on our hospital stays
  • Diagnosis and treatment often takes too long
  • Services are struggling to meet demand and aren’t joined up
  • Not enough is being done for people with mild or moderate mental health issues, and …
  • A lack of investment over a number of years means services have fallen short in supporting people’s emotional and mental health wellbeing
Children’s and maternity services
  • Choices for women about where they give birth, and the local obstetric support available, varies depending where they live
  • Major gaps in mental health services for women in the weeks up to and after birth leave some women unsupported
  • Unplanned admissions of children to hospital are far too high and many of them may be avoidable
  • Support for children and families to help deal with behavioural issues needs to be strengthened
  • Children and families can fall in gaps between different agencies and services, including the transition from children’s to adult services
  • Inconsistency of services across the county is a big issue - antenatal and postnatal; community paediatrics; and choices about where to give birth