Healthcare Management In Oxfordshire
The county of Oxfordshire existed before the Norman conquest and has held a leading university for centuries. A generally prosperous place, which takes in the Berkshire Downs, Chiltern Hills and part of the Cotswolds.
With 1000 square miles available to 725,000 residents, there is ample space for agriculture, although mechanisation has seen the countryside workforce dwindle.
Oxfordshire has a degree of industrial heritage but the focus now is on professional and technical services. Education, energy, life sciences, the financial and healthcare sectors, including facilities to care for residents.
Resposibility For Health Services
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a wide ranging report on Oxfordshire health services in 2017. A core issue raised was a lack of collaboration, which had led to a fragmented system.
A CQC review did find improvement a year later. There has since been continued effort to improve coordination amongst the range of bodies involved.
The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provide physical, psychological and social care across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and part of Somerset. They are responsible for over 100 hospitals and medical centres.
Oxfordshire Public Health is part of the County Council and focuses on health improvement, together with prevention and disease control. Their intention is to support healthcare services, in meeting the population’s needs.
They are at the centre of Oxfordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which includes GPs, local goverment officers and voluntary bodies. Amongst them is Healthwatch Oxfordshire, a charity which tries to ensure people’s voices are heard.
There are sub-bodies dedicated to specific aspects and senior figures such as the Director of Public Health. The report he published for 2022/23 focused firmly on the need to reduce obesity, the damage this can bring and underlying causes.
Outcomes For Oxfordshire’s People
Life expectancy in Oxfordshire is almost 80 for men and 84 for women, above the national average. There is however significant inequality, with that number varying by 12 years for men and 9 for women, from the least to the most deprived.
People having their activities limited by health is below the national average and the number of physically active adults is high. This had helped to keep levels of obesity down but the trend is changing.
Over 25% of 10 to 11 year olds in Oxfordshire are classified as obese, above the national average. One of the realities that drove the Director of Public Health’s 2022/23 report.
As with much of the UK, accessing NHS treatment in a timely fashion is becoming more of an issue. Current overall health in the county is still above average, even with the effects of an ageing population.
Private Sector Healthcare Support
In 2023, a parliamentary committee raised the issue of private healthcare providers offering more flexible working and higher rates of pay. This was seen as detrimental to NHS staff retention but not to patients using those providers.
We understand the issue and this will apply in Oxfordshire, where there is established private provision. The counterbalance to the problem is that private providers, including The New Foscote Hospital, provide care for referred NHS patients.
They also give residents a choice of paying for treatment, where they are able, or using medical insurance. By doing this, they relieve pressure on the NHS, a finding mentioned by Oxfordshire health bodies.
A county of varying affluence can see private care augmenting and complementing NHS services. That is certainly our wish and the reason we provide a full range of medical departments, to ensure the people of Oxfordshire are supported.
27 October 2023