At the discretion of the Chair, a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Health and Wellbeing Board. No member of the public shall speak for more than three minutes in the Open Forum, except by permission of the Chair.
At the discretion of the Chair, a period of up to 10 minutes may be allocated at each ordinary meeting for members of the public to make representations or to ask questions on matters within the terms of reference of the Health and Wellbeing Board. No member of the public shall speak for more than three minutes in the Open Forum, except by permission of the Chair. Two members of the public made representations during the Open Forum, covering the three below topics.
Digitalisation’s Impact on Emergency Services
As British Telecoms (BT) were intending to stop using copper wire and now proposed to use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) across Leeds, which will require constant stable internet access, it was outlined that this had a potential to impact older people, people living with disabilities and some of the traditional pathways for contacting health and care systems, particularly in rural areas. There was also affordability and inclusivity issues as smart phones may be required, which incur significant costs and also the relevant technology seemed to only be available for purchase online. It was BT’s responsibility to build a bank of phone numbers for their users and use may be dependent on internet connectivity and bandwidth speed as well as weather impacts. With the potential for floods and power failures, a backup plan and also a discussion with people living in sheltered care was required. The effect this will have on fall detectors and whether access to the 5th emergency service, as Telecare was described, should be free was queried. The Director for Adults and Health responded, noting information was to be gathered regarding what communications had been had between BT, care homes and the third sector to secure arrangements. Further information was to be provided to the speaker once there had been sufficient time to provide a detailed response, outlining that a solution for funding for mobile phones was unlikely to be able to be addressed but services were working to develop measures and plans to ensure accessibility and avoid digital exclusion.
Migrant Health Board
The inclusion of the agenda item regarding the Migrant Health Board Update, detailed at minute 27 below, was welcomed, however there was no reference to the approach for settling charges for those without rights to access services, in cases of urgent care needs. It was queried whether the Board scrutinised LTHT charges and whether it was known how often migrants, particularly asylum seekers and refugees, become indebted by health care charges, as well as any data or discussions for migrants not using services over fear of charges. It was noted by the LTHT Deputy Chief Executive that all people hold rights to access emergency carefree of charge, regardless of their citizenship status and further feedback was to be provided once information had been gathered.
Leeds Hospital Buildings
There had been no further public update provided on the new LTHT Hospital buildings for Leeds since May 2023 and a National Audit Office report had been critical of the New Hospitals Programme. Suggestions have been made that the programme needed to shift to a “minimum viable product approach applied to hospitals”. It was questioned whether the Board had investigated the impact of the report on existing Leeds plans. It was queried as the LTHT website displayed celebration for the demolition of existing buildings in preparation, but it was unclear when or what the final build will consist of to the public. The LTHT Deputy Chief Executive responded, outlining that, the process for the business case was ongoing, the design model remained unchanged, and they chaired a Hospital’s of the Future meeting, which was continuing to consult with existing teams and relevant partners. There had been some changes to single room occupancy plans, in advance of the build, work was ongoing to develop access and parking plans and, the buildings were expected to be completed in 6 to 7 years.