Sheffield councillor says ‘system is unfit for purpose’ after cycling nearly an hour to appointment

A councillor who had to cycle nearly an hour across the city for a health appointment said more needs to be done to join up services.

By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:33 pm

Councillor Bernard Little raised the issue during an adult social care scrutiny committee meeting this week after being forced to undertake the journey due to a lack of reliable public transport.

He said: “Looking forward, as chair of the local area committee for the city centre, with other services within the city the agreement is we have got particular people – named officers and individuals from other parts of the services provided within the city and beyond – we can actually speak to and ask for them to come to our meetings. I’d very much like somebody from integrated healthcare to be on tap as it were to explain ‘look, these services do not complement each other, they are actually pushing each other in completely different directions’.

“I live in Walkley and I had to go for an appointment at Meadowhead. There was no way I could guarantee I could get there by public transport, the buses are so unreliable, I don’t want to use the car because I am committed to cutting my emissions so I had to cycle there.

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“It’s outrageous, it took me nearly an hour to get there. I’m reasonably fit and healthy but I wouldn’t expect anybody to do that. So at the moment we have got a system that is unfit for purpose.”

He was speaking during a discussion on plans to integrate care services across the region, which is part of plans set out in a new Health and Care Bill that is currently progressing through Parliament.

If the legislation passes, the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw integrated care system will become a statutory NHS organisation.

There is no blueprint for how this would work and details are still being debated.

Lucy Ettridge, deputy director of NHS Sheffield CCG, said better integration had been a priority since the last Labour government and these changes will offer a chance to improve the lives of people living in Sheffield.