Debate on future care services for Isle residents

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A group of lead clinicians from GP practices, hospitals, community care and social care in northern Lincolnshire have joined forces to help design services that are fit for the future.

As part of the Healthy Lives, Healthy Futures (HLHF) programme, which is reviewing all healthcare services in the area, the medics and allied health and social care professionals recently attended a workshop held at Health Place, Brigg. Their purpose was to collaborate on the challenging task of planning health and social care provision for the local population that delivers high quality services in an affordable way.

Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler (pictured), medical director for North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group who is also a practising GP, chaired the event. He said: “We had excellent attendance from a good mix of clinicians from different backgrounds and professions.

“It’s very important that their ideas and views lead the way in the transformation of health and social care for our area.”

Karen Jackson, the lead accountable officer for the HLHF programme, who is also the chief executive of Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Clinical input is absolutely essential for this work and I’m very pleased to see the enthusiasm with which staff from all parts of our local health and social care system are getting involved.

“We have made a lot of progress in what is an extremely difficult and complex task. This workshop has helped us identify four priority work streams as well as a number of key principles that will underpin our approach to any service redesign.”

The four main work streams are:

o Unplanned care (ie urgent/emergency care)

o Planned care

o Long-term conditions

o Women and children’s services

The key principles agreed when designing services are:

o Strong focus on primary/community and home-based care

o Focus on prevention of illness and injury

o Decisions must be based on evidence

o Make better use of technology/diagnostics

The four groups will now meet to debate a five-year vision for each area that will then be used to form the basis of the overall HLHF plan. As with all HLHF activity so far, any proposed major service change would go through a rigorous process involving full engagement and consultation with the public and other stakeholders.

This activity to date includes the centralisation of the hyper-acute stroke service at Scunthorpe hospital and the decision to centralise inpatient ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery at Grimsby hospital.

Mrs Jackson added: “NHS and social care services face unprecedented challenges in terms of demand for them, and funding to pay for them. As a health and social care community, we are determined to make our money stretch as far as it can but we are all agreed that this means things cannot stay as they are.

“We will continue to focus on modelling a variety of different options for each of the four priority areas and look forward to pulling together a plan ready for public engagement later this year.”

Dr Margaret Sanderson, chair of North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There are some tough decisions to make over the coming months. We need to change services for the better and make sure that from both a quality and financial point of view we are in the best possible position to continue providing high quality care for years to come.

“This may mean we have to move services and also to provide some services closer to people’s homes. It is only by working with the community that we can achieve the goals we have set ourselves.”

Dr Peter Melton, chief clinical officer for North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have already made some major changes with stroke care and ENT surgery and are now considering where else efficiencies can be made and quality improved.

“We want high quality, safe services for our population and that’s why we can’t leave things as they are. Without this review the quality of service will only get worse as greater demands are put on the funding available.”