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Doctors’ orders make a difference

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 17/04/2014 13:16:35
Mark Jones

As Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) around the country mark their first year in charge of local healthcare, Dr Mark Jones – Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, shares his views...

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since local GPs picked up the reins of planning and buying local healthcare.

In some ways it feels like only yesterday that we embarked on the creation of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG. The organisation that is responsible for the healthcare of some 200,000 or more people. 

Looking back over the past year our team has certainly made good progress on a number of projects. Of course, that is not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs.

It would be an understatement to say our work on Faversham’s minor injuries service has been a learning curve. When we realised that there was no suitable provider to take on the service we were disappointed and naturally wanted to make everyone aware as soon as possible. As many will know, we have now extended the service so we can reassess the options. We are working with local people, GPs and councillors on this and hope to have a clearer picture on what we do next in the coming weeks.

Looking at our achievements - we have established some great projects. Our community fund has provided a number of local community and voluntary organisations with grants to help support the valuable work that they do. From cookery projects to support groups, we have awarded more than £25,000 of funding over the past year.

Working with colleagues in social care and Kent Community Health NHS Trust, to name but a few, we have developed neighbourhood care teams to support people through a health crisis. The teams, working closely with the patients’ GPs, have helped thousands of people to receive health and social care support in their own homes. For many this has avoided the need to be admitted to hospital.

All 22 of our practices are also now signed up to the Professional Standards for Urgent Care. This means that patients requiring urgent attention should always be offered the most appropriate type of appointment that same day with a doctor or nurse, either in the practice, over the phone or at home.

We have also been a partner to East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust’s outpatient consultation, looking at where outpatient clinics should be based in the future. We joined the consultation as partners because community hospitals in our area are among those most affected and we want to be sure local people’s views are heard.

Looking to the future, we know there are challenges to come. With increasing demand and flat budgets, we need to step up the pace of change – really improving the care that people receive at home so we can help many more people to avoid health crises, and particularly improving support for people with dementia and their carers to live well.

Finally, we want patients to trust us to listen, learn and deliver. Whether you have ideas around how we can improve services or you just want to provide us with your feedback, please get in touch. Details are on our website: www.canterburycoastalccg.nhs.uk.