27 / 01 / 2009
NHS South West
Plymouth Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT) is the lead NHS organisation in Plymouth, responsible for providing and purchasing health services that meet the needs of local people and improve the future health of our population. In April 2003 it gained teaching status.
The PCT provides community based health services such as GP, Dentist, nursing, rehabilitation, learning disabilities and mental health services and inpatient services in rehabilitation and acute mental health.
It serves a population of over 250,000 and employs around 2,600 staff working from over 50 sites across the city. It has responsibility for the city's 45 GP practices.
The PCT worked in partnership with Plymouth County Council to undertake a review of its Disability Equality Scheme. Both organisations published a Disability Equality Scheme in December 2006, and the review aimed to look at what progress had taken place to support and enable people with disabilities to access services.
The PCT worked closely with the Plymouth Disability Action Network to develop a questionnaire that would help them identify the current level of access and uptake. The questionnaire was piloted with disabled people and adapted accordingly.
In addition, two facilitated events took place, where people with a disability were invited to have their say on the services that the PCT provides.
The PCT had originally planned to undertake the review on its own, but the local council was keen to work partnership. This meant that resources and funding could be shared.
The review of the Disability Equality Scheme linked to two of the PCTs objectives:
- to develop a vision of health and well-being with the people of Plymouth based on genuine patient and public involvement that also recognises and celebrates the diversity of the city's population
- to work in partnership to reduce health inequalities in the city.
A period of four months was allocated to develop the questionnaire and organise the two events. The development of the questionnaire was the most challenging - keeping it concise but ensuring that it would provide enough evidence. The questionnaire was therefore tested through several groups, which meant that the process took longer than the four months originally anticipated.
At the outset both organisations agreed to share funding. The PCT used its equality and diversity budget for an interpreter and general administration costs.
The questionnaire and events were promoted through all the disability groups in Plymouth via mail shots, newsletters and also a joint press release. To give the events profile and to demonstrate senior level commitment, Plymouth County Council identified a senior lead to open one of the events, and the PCTs non-executive lead for equality and diversity opened the other.
Over 100 questionnaires were completed, and over 50 participants attended the events.
The next stage is to work with the council to collate and analyse the results of the questionnaires and feedback from the events. The findings will then be used to look at and address any areas of progress for the previous year and areas for improvement for the forthcoming year.
Feedback will be provided to people with disabilities in Plymouth via newsletters, the Disability Equality Scheme report, and through the local media.
Based on the attendance level at the events and the number of questionnaires returned , the review exercise was a success. If the exercise was run again, the PCT would involve some of their other statutory partners.
Angela Saxby, Equality & Diversity Lead - Angela.Saxby@pcs-tr.swest.nhs.uk