The rate of deaths from cancer, suicide and smoking-related diseases in the Western Trust area have been catalogued as “high” in a presentation delivered by health officials before the local council.
Derry & Strabane District Council’s Health and Communities Committee was informed that a population needs assessment had identified High Standardised Mortality Rates across a range of conditions.
These included cancer-related deaths (excluding breast cancer); cerebro-vascular disease; respiratory disease, particularly pneumonia; suicide; and smoking related deaths.
The presentation data also states that there are “high alcohol and also self-harm related admissions” locally as well as a high number of births to teenage mums.
The data was contained in a report on the Western Trust’s Improvement Plan, which outlined the challenges facing the Trust locally and the ways in which services are being adapted, moulded and reformed to better meet those challenges.
The report was presented at the Guildhall on Thursday evening by the Western Trust’s Director of Performance and Service Improvement Teresa Molloy, who was accompanied by Karen Meehan, Transforming Your Care Project Manager.
The Western Trust caters to a population of 297,300 people, the report states, with strong partnership and community and voluntary networks in place, and a history of innovation in tackling the health and social care issues facing people here.
Ms Molloy said the Trust’s focus was on making sure early intervention was very much to the forefront, as well as looking closely towards community-based, integrated care that follows best practice models from across the north.
She said that the changes being introduced under Transforming Your Care fell into four main priority areas: Re-ablement & Domicillary Care; Outpatients Reform; Acute Hospital Reform; and Care Pathway redesign, although the third aspect regarding hospitals doesn’t really apply to the West because services have already been realigned.
Priorities for the Western Trust meanwhile have been identified as finding pathways for the frail and elderly; those with respiratory conditions; End of Life care; Diabetes; Stroke; Cardiology.
In terms of care for older people, Ms Molloy said: “There is a big programme of work on re-ablement and domicillary care. We are putting new investment into acute care in the community.”
She admitted that the work on reforming residential homes had seen “rather bumpy progress”.
She added that with people living longer and the older population increasing there was a real need for reform.
Another priority area has been identified as children in care or so-called Looked After Children, “where we have had a significant growth in the number of children we look after.”
The Trust is also planning to “repatriate” children with complex needs who have been sent abroad for care- some of them for years at a time.
She said that the major reform programme meant upskilling staff and also a “change to the culture of how some services are delivered”.