The 2007 UN Convention of Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities was the first legally binding agreement to outline the rights of disabled people around the world.
The UK became a signatory to the convention in 2009. Article 25 is about Health and full text can be view on www.equalityhumanrights.com on the UN Disability Convention page.
Good quality accessible local Primary, Public and Community Health and Social Care services are necessary for healthy communities and for supporting disabled/elderly people to live independent lives.
Here are some facts about Horsham health services.
Horsham has the fastest growing elderly population in West Sussex.
Horsham population is growing fast.
GP surgeries in Horsham town are full and four of them are within a few hundred yards of each other, making for poor access problems, for patients living in the out skirts of the town.
There are many Horsham communities with out any Primary Care facilities/services, like Broadbridge Heath, Slinfold, Warnham, Mannings Heath, Faygate and Colgate.
Under-utilised Horsham Hospital especially out of hours and at weekends.
Even more scarce and centralised out of hours GPs, Health and Social Services.
Examples of low standards of care.
High living costs and low pay make it difficult to recruit and retain health care workers.
Poor public transport.
So what needs to happen to improve the situation and help make us compliant with the convention?
For without improvements the acute sector will grind to a halt, building new hospitals, without more solutions in the community, they will just become full and unsustainable,
Better levels and spread of Primary Care, to include better access in out of hours.
People need to take more responsibility for their health, this can be done with more education and information about their conditions, more use of telecare/telemedicine.
Better use of Horsham Hospital with step up and step down beds and palliative care beds, therapies services, one stop clinics, Urgent and Minor Injuries Care.
There is also a need to connect Horsham Hospital with all the acute trusts by telemedicine connecting local GPs and community doctors with the acute sector, as Horsham patients are referred to different acute trusts.
Early interventions as in Article 25 b) need early diagnosis, Horsham Hospital can provide these.
We need to raise the status of care workers by better training and recognition of their work. To think about training and retaining our own, for if patients are cared for by people from their own community, and staff feel supported by that community then care standards will rise. If CCGs (GPs) HDC, LA Health and Well Being Hubs, Social Services and Voluntary Sector groups, working together we can provide quality local sustainable health services in the community.
These are Human Rights that we all should support for in doing so it will improve health services for every one.
Retired EHRC Union representative, Hillside, Horsham