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Health body reveals plans for future of city’s health services

Health body reveals plans for future of city’s health services
20 May 2016

Papers unveiled today by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) set out plans  for making it easier and quicker for patients to see a health professional at their local GP practice, for a more community-based approach to healthcare, and for making it simpler for patients to get urgent healthcare.

NHS Sheffield CCG who are responsible for buying and contracting (known as commissioning) many of Sheffield’s healthcare services, have set out their plans in the Care Outside of Hospital Strategy, which consists of Urgent Care and Primary Care Strategies and work already underway for Active support and Recovery, all being discussed at the CCG Governing Body Meeting next week.

Maddy Ruff, Accountable Officer for NHS Sheffield CCG will present the Care Outside of Hospital plans to the Board meeting. Maddy said: “The Care Outside of Hospital Strategy sets out some of our biggest transformational plans for the coming year.

“We have fantastic health services in the city, but by working in a more coordinated way and by making changes that help the public use the health services in the best possible way, they could be even better.

“We know we face challenges in the future, with a population with more complex health needs and an increasingly challenging financial situation. We believe that by being ambitious and embarking on big transformational change plans now, whilst the system is relatively strong, that we can maintain the quality and financial stability of our city’s great services."

The Care Outside of Hospital Strategy sets out a plan for improved patient care in the community with services working together much better to help ensure that patients only attend hospital when they really should - for a procedure or in a genuine emergency.

The strategy highlights plans for a new 'neighbourhoods' approach, which will see support teams working with communities of around 30,000 people. Teams small enough that they know most of their clients and can provide continuity of care will have a mix of skills and flexibility to deliver what the patient needs.  These teams will support local GP practices, and include a range of medical, social, and other public sector workers, such as fire officers - tailored to the particular community's needs. Voluntary organisations and staff will be part of the teams to help offer a good understanding of the local services and support available.

The Urgent Care Strategy proposes that a re-organisation of local urgent care services to make the system less confusing and easier to use would improve the misconception many people have that a hospital emergency department (A&E) is the only place to get urgent healthcare - opening an urgent care centre in front of the Emergency Department should also be explored for those patients who continue to attend with non-emergencies it says.

A campaign to encourage and support patients to know when they should stay at home and look after themselves, when they need to see which health professional, and steps to take to prevent them needing an emergency appointment - better managing their asthma for example - will help people use the urgent care system better too.  The strategy also sets out plans to promote the 111 number and integrate it better with local services, and for additional support and services to be offered by pharmacists.

The primary care strategy sets out plans for making it easier to see a health professional at your GP practice but aims to better use the skills of the other health professionals based in a practice and dispel myths that it's necessary to see a GP for all primary care needs.  It will strengthen and support general practices, where most healthcare consultations in the city take place.

Sheffield GP Dr StJohn Livesy, CCG Clinical Lead for both primary care and urgent care said: "We have so many talented health professionals based in the community and our plans are to make the most of that resource.

"A key challenge of the strategy though will be to help our patients and Sheffield citizens to realise that a specialist diabetes nurse can offer them great advice on their long-term condition and a pharmacist can offer the best advice on their medication. We currently have a system that's very reliant on the GP being the first point of contact for all patients and the national workforce issues around recruiting and retaining GPs mean that long-term this won't work for the NHS.

"By looking at how we can develop primary care for the future, and in the context of the wider Care Outside of Hospital changes that'll see the GP practices as the centre of local healthcare, with services including voluntary sector support wrapped around them, we have a great chance to make real transformational change in Sheffield that will strengthen our local system and benefit our patients."

Maddy concluded: "To better provide health and social care outside of hospital we must address the challenges faced across the entire system in a co-ordinated way rather than dealing with different aspects of the system separately.

"These papers set out some of the key challenges faced across the system and describe a model for future delivery of services which begins with the patient rather than the different organisations who must coordinate and work together better than ever before."

If approved at the meeting next week, the next steps based on the proposals in the three strategies, will be developed whilst engaging with the public, staff, partners and voluntary sector.

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

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722 Prince of Wales Road
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