As there are two medical practices in Whitstable, of which one is wholly dominant, there is no formalised town team. A population approach has been in place for some years and in the last two years this has been focused on the WISH project. This has sought to meet the clinical needs of Whitstable residents as locally as possible and thus to minimise inappropriate use of secondary care services.
Commissioning issues aside, on a population basis the containment of secondary care usage appears to demonstrate positive results. The central wards of Whitstable town and in particular the social
housing areas of Seasalter and Swalecliffe have higher concentrations of disadvantaged people. This contrasts with the Tankerton and Chestfield areas. Residents of Harbour and Seasalter wards have higher rates of smoking, higher rates of mental illness, diabetes and the Whitstable area generally has higher rates of cardiovascular disease when compared with C4G as a whole. Tankerton and Chestfield have higher cancer deaths for people aged under 75. There are high concentrations of very old people in some of the Whitstable wards. This has manifested itself in high rates of excess winter deaths and those for Chestfield have been recorded as the highest anywhere in Kent.
Whatever the long term basis of the WISH project, the Whitstable practices should:
- Seek to influence the CCG Board’s commissioning response to ensurethat particular clinical needs of Whitstable residents are recognised;
- Work closely with the local voluntary sector to strengthen the overall response to need including where necessary commissioning the voluntary sector to undertake allied work;
- Work more closely with children’s centres and youth services.
(Source: Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, Health Needs Assessment, September 2012)