Improving community health services

Local healthcare commissioner, NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has set out to improve the services for the local communities of West Lancashire through a vision known as Building For The Future.

This vision is about delivering joined up care that is focused around an individual’s needs, while improving the quality of care they receive and their experiences.   The CCG would like to encourage patients to play a bigger role in their care, understand which health service to use, receive care closer to their homes, reduce the need to visit A&E and be treated by clinically led teams with multiple skills and specialities.

Since summer 2015, the CCG has been liaising with potential providers that would be interested in providing community health services and some elements of urgent care services locally in West Lancashire.   Following an evaluation process, these organisations have been invited to have further discussion with the CCG about community health services; Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, Optum Health Solutions (UK) Ltd, Virgin Care Services and Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the following have been invited to have further discussion with the CCG about urgent care services; Optum Health Solutions (UK) Ltd and Virgin Care Services.

The CCG and these named organisations will now begin working closely with each other, local communities, voluntary groups, other providers and local partners, in order to further identify the local need in West Lancashire and develop plans to deliver the safe and quality care for patients and their families.    This will build on the involvement carried out to date with local patients, including those with long-term conditions, GP practices, existing community services staff and many more.

Each organisation named above will be invited to submit a final proposal and following careful evaluation from the commissioners, the best one will be selected in September 2016.  The selected provider will then begin delivering the services locally in April 2017.

Claire Heneghan, chief nurse and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“This is a significant step forwards for both local health services and the people of West Lancashire.   We know that due to many factors such as an aging population and financial constraints on the NHS, we need to evolve our local services and we know we need to act now.  This vision is about creating effective and sustainable services for the future.   Changing and enhancing the way we deliver services will allow us to free up hospital capacity in order to allow them to focus on those other crucial areas and services they specialise in.  Our local hospital will continue to be a major part of local health services and will remain integral in moving towards joined up care.

“We have listened to what our local community and clinical staff have told us and will continue to ensure their views, experience and ideas are included in the plans we develop for the future.   The organisations we are talking to must demonstrate they can meet the criteria we set and importantly must also continue to deliver high quality safe care. While this process continues, patients can expect to continue to receive community health services and urgent care services locally.  Local services including those at our local hospital will not be impacted by this procurement.   I’d therefore like to reassure local residents this is a typical commissioning process about how services are managed and delivered”.

Dr John Caine, local GP and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“When a contract for a NHS service comes to an end, as commissioners we have a duty to review those services to ensure they will meet the changing needs of the population in the future in line with our 5 year strategies for improvement.  This procurement process is being undertaken in discharge of our statutory obligations.  We need to ensure our residents especially those living with long-term conditions have the right care around them and also the right knowledge to help them to self-manage their condition.   Transforming our local community health services towards truly joined up care will allow so many local people live healthier and happier lives”.

The CCG is welcoming views on local services by completing a patient story form, which is available via the CCG’s webpage:  http://www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/have-your-say/community-health-services/  A patient story form can also be requested by calling the CCG on 01695 588 000.

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