Difficult Decisions engagement results published although next phase still on hold

The results of a major engagement exercise held earlier this year have now been published.

The Difficult Decisions programme sought views on ending the postcode lottery that exists across parts of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to access treatments and services.

It looked at five specific areas where NHS commissioning policies are different depending upon where in the area you live.

Dr Lorna Clarson, GP in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and clinical lead for this work, said: “This was a comprehensive engagement that was completed just before the Coronavirus pandemic hit us.

“We announced in April that work would be suspended as we needed to put all our efforts into fighting the pandemic.

“While that remains the case, we acknowledge there has been frustration caused by people not being able to see the results of the engagement. That is why we are now pleased to publish the independent engagement report which highlights all the feedback and the comments that were collated during the engagement work.

“We’ve also developed a summary version demonstrating the key themes from each of the five service areas.

“The next stage of the engagement process is deciding on the options to take forward for each service based on this feedback. However, this requires direct input from clinicians, and at the moment they really all need to be concentrating on continuing the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic and preparing for winter.

“It’s a case of prioritising our clinical resources and we’re not able to commit to a timescale for when this work will continue.

“I would though like to reiterate my thanks for people getting involved and sharing their experiences as this will be used to shape the future services when we have defeated the virus and moved past winter.”

More information about the Difficult Decisions work, and to access the findings report and summary, please visit a CCG website: