Patients and carers are set to benefit from more joined up health and social care services in the future, but managing the demand for health care from Somerset’s growing elderly population and those living with long-term ill health, will mean health services will have to change their focus.
That was a key message from Dr Matthew Dolman, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), at its first Annual General Meeting.
Somerset CCG is the new GP led organisation responsible for the planning and funding of Somerset’s health services.
In a presentation setting out the CCG’s five year service priorities Dr Dolman explained that the CCG was working to improve the health and wellbeing of people by:
- Reducing the numbers of people dying early from preventable disease
- Improving the lives of those with long-term ill health
- Helping people to recover after ill-health or injury
- Ensuring people have a positive experience of local health services
- Ensuring people receive their treatment and care in a safe environment and are protected from avoidable harm
Notable successes in 2013/14 include more rehabilitation provided to patients through Independent Living Teams; improved treatment and rehabilitation for stroke patients through the development of an Early Supported Discharge scheme and the Symphony Project, a scheme in South Somerset exploring the benefits of integrated health and social care services for patients with long-term conditions.
In general Somerset CCG and local NHS Trusts have performed well against nation standards. For example:
- 89.8% of patients needing routine hospital treatment received it within 18 weeks (the national standard was 90%)
- 97.2% of patients spent less than four hours in hospital Accident and Emergency Department (the national standard is 95%)
- 78% of ambulance calls were responded to in eight minutes against a standard of 75%.
- Seven cases of MRSA were reported by local NHS Trust (the aim was to have none)
Dr Dolman said: “Somerset CCG, like all health communities, is facing some very significant challenges in future years. We are already working with partner agencies to manage the growing demand upon health and social care services.
“Somerset patients experience some of the highest quality health services but the demand for service we are seeing caused by the growth in our elderly population, the numbers of people living with long-term ill health and the high cost of new healthcare means we will have to find ways of improving the way we deliver care.
“We have to make cost efficiency savings of some £40 million pounds a year for the next five years, reinvesting these savings back into community and home based health care.
Patients, carers and the public can still expect good quality care, but we all need to learn to take care of our health, use the NHS responsibly and accept that local health services will have to change if we are to meet future demand.”
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s 2013 /2014 Annual Report and summary review are available from its web site at: www.somersetccg.nhs.uk