Previous reference: Minute 21 (2018/2019)
Document “AH” sets out a joint response from the Council and NHS to the recommendations made by Healthwatch Bradford and District, presented to the Committee in September 2018, on the experiences of autistic people across the area on accessing support.
(1) That the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee endorse the plans to re-establish the Autism Strategy Group who will oversee the delivery of a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, resourced, timed) action plan that will demonstrate improvements for people with Autism in Bradford.
(2) That a further update report be submitted to the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee to show the progress against the action plan in 12 months’ time.
(Jane Wood – 01274 437312)
Previous reference: Minute 21 (2018/2019)
Document “AH” set out a joint response from the Council and NHS to the recommendations made by Healthwatch Bradford and District, presented to the Committee in September 2018, on the experiences of autistic people across the area on accessing support.
The Assistant Director Commissioning and Integration stated that, since the previous report to the Committee, the authority had submitted its Autism Self-Assessment to Public Health England (attached as Appendix 2 to Document “AH”). This was an assessment that was required every 18 months and information from it was used by Public Health England for its national report and to highlight areas of concern and areas of good delivery. She stated that whilst there were many ‘amber’ ratings and areas requiring improvements in Bradford, actions to address the recommendations from the Healthwatch report were outlined in Appendix one and would be included in a new SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, resourced and time-bound) Action Plan, which would be developed by the newly formed Autism Strategy Group/Partnership Board.
The Director of Strategic Partnerships, Bradford District and Craven CCGs, stated that, in 2018, the CCGs approved non-recurrent funding to tackle the Bradford and Airedale Neurodevelopment Service (BANDS) waiting list which had had 160 patients on it waiting for a diagnostic assessment. He informed Members that work had been undertaken collaboratively with providers from Leeds and the number of patients on the waiting list (which was currently closed to new referrals) was expected to be reduced to zero by summer 2019. He explained that a tried and tested system in Leeds had been used to sift out patients on the waiting list who did not need a diagnostic assessment; these patients had been referred by their GP and a simple screening process determined whether a diagnostic assessment was the correct path for them. He further explained that the quality of the service in Bradford was already good but ways to improve the efficiency of the system had been identified and advised on by experts from Leeds.
The Chair raised strong concern that the information presented in relation to 160 patients on the BANDS waiting list was new information to the Committee as it was not contained within the report.
The Assistant Director, Commissioning and Integration, stated that Bradford CCGs were contributing to the development of the Autism work stream of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System which was seeking to consider alternative sustainable approaches to delivering high quality adult autism diagnostic services which linked to local care pathways.
In response to Members’ questions, it was reported that:
· The decision to work in partnership with Leeds had been taken due to their expertise, to add to Bradford’s skillset and the ability to work at the West Yorkshire level. There were many synergies to be gained from partnership working with Leeds.
· Triage forms were completed by the GP when they referred patients for a diagnostic assessment.
· If, following an initial assessment, a patient on the BANDS waiting list did not require a full diagnostic assessment, they were signposted to alternative services.
In response to a Member’s question that had raised concerns about patients who could not get onto the BANDS waiting list since its closure in 2016, it was explained that 107 requests for assessment had been made to the individual funding requests (IFR) panel whilst referrals to BANDS was closed and 40 of these had resulted in a formal referral. In response to a further question, it was stated that there was a backlog of demand that had not yet impacted on the IFR panel but work was being undertaken to address this to ensure the service had the capacity to meet demand.
A Member raised concern about whether the service was at a stage where it fully understood that signposting patients to other services was working well.
A Member suggested mandatory training on autism for all GPs which would aid them in completing the triage forms when they were referring patients for a diagnostic assessment.
Following concerns from Members about the information lacking in the report about the BANDS waiting list and plans to meet demand in future, the Scrutiny Lead officer suggested that she and the Chair convene a group of Members to look at the plans for the service going forward, prior to May 2019.
That an informal meeting be convened for the Committee to be updated on the planned developments in the adults diagnostic service and consideration be given at that meeting to the next steps the Committee wishes to take in scrutinising this issue.
ACTION: Strategic Director, Health and Wellbeing