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‘Better care together’ is a review of local health services. This website explains why the review is happening and how you can contribute.
The 'better care together' review is being carried out by local NHS organisations including Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal.
The review is an opportunity to make sure the best possible health services are provided across North Lancashire and South Cumbria, which meet the needs of residents, now and well into the future.
Health professionals in the area, including GPs and hospital doctors, are looking at how health services are provided. They are considering how the different parts of the health service can work together more effectively to ensure individual patients get the most appropriate care.
It is important for the health professionals carrying out this review to know what you think about local health services, what your priorities are and how you think services should change.
Please take a little time to browse around this website, find out more about this review and how you can get involved.
Upcoming Public Events
Involvement opportunities: we would like your feedback
In 2013 better care together ran a number of events for members of the public to have their say on local NHS health services; we visited a number of areas and received thousands of responses. When we analysed the feedback a clear message emerged that we also need to look at how we deliver healthcare "out of hospital" ins well as "in hosiptal" care. We are now holding further public drop-in events in March and would like to invite you to come along.
There will be a presentation, questionnaires, feedback sessions and opportunities to share your thoughts on priorities for health care now and in the future.
There will be 6 events in total:
15th March Lancaster City Town Hall: 10:00am-12:30pm & 2:30pm-5:00pm View on Map
17th March Kendal Town Hall: 2:00pm-4:00pm & 6:30pm-8:00pm View on Map
18th March Barrow, Forum 28: 2:00pm-4:00pm & 6:30pm-8:00pm View on Map
19th March Morecambe, The Platform: 2:00pm-4:00pm & 6:30pm-8:00pm View on Map
21st March Millom, Network Centre: 2:00pm-4:00pm & 6:30pm-8:00pm View on Map
22nd March Ulverston, Coronation Hall: 10:00am-12:30pm & 2:30pm-5:00pm View on Map
Please do visit us, there is no need to pre-register, simply turn up on the day.
If you are unable to attend the events, we still want to hear from you. We will be posting links for our survey on our website and you can also get in touch by visiting our Contact Us page.
January 2014 - New Stakeholder Briefing
New focus for review of local health services
A review of health services in South Cumbria and North Lancashire is being extended to allow a greater focus on out-of-hospital care such as GP services, pharmacies and other community services.
The ‘better care together’ review has focused primarily on services within hospitals. However, following extensive public engagement, together with advice from leading clinicians and feedback from NHS staff, it became clear that the scope of the programme needs to be widened to look at out-of-hospital care.
This means that more work is needed prior to commencing with a formal consultation, which was originally scheduled for the autumn.
Hugh Reeve, Clinical Chair of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“We have been delighted with the levels of engagement and involvement from a wide range of people across our local communities, including senior doctors and nurses, patients and their families and partner organisations who are all passionate about improving their local NHS.
“Having listened carefully to their feedback, it’s clear that the focus needs to be widened to include the services we provide outside of hospital, including general practice. People tell us they want to fully understand the options and opportunities around changing health services before they are expected to give a formal view on this.
Alex Gaw, Clinical Chair ofLancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“Local people want the right care in the right place and the right time. With new technology and specialist equipment, there are also many potential ways of treating and caring for people closer to home.
“The next phase of the programme will include looking at all aspects of out-of-hospital care and further work on finances, workforce and transport so we can paint a full picture of how services could be changed to work better in the future. We will be continuing to engage and involve people as we move through this process.”
George Nasmyth, Medical Director of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) explained:
“Better care together is a clinically led programme in which we are looking for a long term safe solution rather than a quick fix, and we all agree that there is further work to do. This is about getting things right not only now but for future generations.
“Much of our initial work has centred on ways of reorganising local hospital services to ensure they continue to offer the high standards of quality and efficiency expected in a modern healthcare system. However, the one message that is coming out loud and clear from local people is that this is only half the task.
“We also need to look in detail at all the community services our population uses on a regular basis to ensure they are providing integrated pathways of care with appropriate interventions at the most appropriate time.
“This process will mean that fewer people need to attend hospital for planned healthcare, and it is envisaged that early, community based specialist interventions will also reduce the need to access emergency hospital care for many patients with chronic conditions. This will enable the hospital staff to work more effectively, and under less pressure, when emergency care is required.”
The better care together team will continue to work closely with Local Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees to keep them up to date on progress and to agree the scope of any future consultation. Public engagement activity will continue throughout 2013, and the programme will provide regular updates on progress.
More opportunities to find out about the review of health services across North Lancashire and South Cumbria
Residents of North Lancashire and South Cumbria will have more opportunities to find out about a large scale review of local health services that is taking place across the area.
The ‘better care together’ review is being carried out by local NHS organisations including Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).
Health professionals are currently looking at how services could be provided in future. At the same time, the local NHS organisations, with help from independent researchers, are seeking the views of members of the public, NHS staff and other interested parties.
A feature of activities so far this year has been a public information bus which made a series of visits to rural areas and town centres, and a survey conducted by an independent research company, TNS BMRB.
The research work has also included comment cards for public feedback, focus groups, in depth interviews and the collection of public ‘vox pops’.
There will be five additional roadshow events in May as follows:
- The Festival Market, Morecambe on Thursday 9th May, 11am-3pm
- Barrow indoor market on Friday 10th May, 11am-3pm
- Westmorland Shopping Centre, Kendal on Saturday 11th May,11am-3pm
- Ulverstonindoor market on Monday 13th May, 11am-3pm
- St Nicholas Arcade, Lancaster on Wednesday 15th May, 11am-3pm
Dr Hugh Reeve, a GP in South Cumbria and the Clinical Chair for NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, says: “This is another chance to find out about this important review and why it is taking place.
“We have a number of challenges we need to address in this area, including the need to improve and maintain quality and safety whilst making financial savings. It is important that changes are properly thought out and we all need to get involved, as together we will come up with better solutions.
“This doesn’t mean we will necessarily get everything we want. Sometimes the solution will be better than we had originally wanted, but sometimes the reality of what things cost will have to be acknowledged and compromises made.
Morecambe GP and Chair of NHS Lancashire North CCG Dr Alex Gaw, adds: “The ‘better care together’ review is designed to help us make sure local services are high quality, safe andaffordable, but also to make them flexible enough to meet future challenges, including an ageing population, an increase in people with long term conditions and new, more expensive treatments.
“There will be a full public consultation later in the year, but this is an opportunity, at an early stage in these discussions, to let us know what you think about local health services and what your priorities are.
“The feedback we get is being given to health professionals to help them shape and develop a set of possible options for future health services, prior to the formal public consultation.”
George Nasmyth, Medical Director for UHMBT, says: “We are committed to giving local people high quality, safe and sustainable health services. This review of health services is essential to enable us to do that in future.
“It is important for the public, NHS staff and other interested parties to understand why this review is taking place and to take time to get involved and have their say, both now and later on during the consultation.”
More information on ‘better care together’ can be found online at www.bettercaretogether-morecambebay.nhs.uk
Better care together - the future of our local health services
Article by Dr Hugh Reeve, Clinical Chair of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (published in the Westmorland Gazette on 21 March 2013).
‘Save our local hospital’ shout the posters in windows, the headlines in papers, and the politicians on the TV. There’s nothing that gets us out on the streets, writing letters or signing petitions quite like a threat to our local hospital or surgery.
We are rightly proud of the dear old NHS.
At the moment there is much discussion about the future of local services. This is an important debate which requires thoughtful and careful discussion amongst all involved – local people, doctors, nurses, NHS and social care managers and political representatives. Unfortunately such discussions are often heated, superficial, with people harking back to better times – which in fact often never existed!
The health service of 2013 is in many ways unrecognisable from when I began as a junior doctor in 1981.
Major improvements have occurred in cancer diagnosis and treatment with home based chemotherapy on the way; 80% of all surgery now occurs as day cases including major procedures; early diagnosis and treatment in the GP surgery can avoid hospital admission and even surgery.
It is also now recognised that the most complicated and delicate procedures are best dealt with in centres of genuine expertise: when they are not, the results can be fatal. Yes, journeys may be longer, but ambulances are now far better equipped to stabilise patients en route.
Thirty years ago people who had a heart attack were admitted to hospital, kept on bed rest for a week, slowly mobilised over the second week, and then sent home with no aftercare or preventative treatment.
Today the diagnosis can be made in the ambulance, treatment started there, followed by direct transfer to a specialist centre, where stents are inserted into coronary arteries to allow the dying heart muscle to recover. Return home may be after a couple of days with a full rehabilitation programme and a bag of medicines to prevent another heart attack.
So, what sort of health service do I want in the future?
Firstly I want a service that aims to keep me as healthy and independent as possible – prevention first.
If I become ill I want to be diagnosed as quickly as possible and as near to home to possible.
If I need major treatment – I want to receive this in a hospital with an excellent track record for managing my condition – even if this means I have to travel.
If I need rehabilitation or care for a long term problem can this be as near to home as possible.
And finally remember I am an individual with hopes and fears; please treat me as you would want to be treated.
Your expectations may differ slightly to mine. We are all influenced by previous experiences. Making the best decision for our health service is not easy and it is difficult balancing our needs and wants with those of others. This is why any such decisions must come out of discussions involving as many people as possible.
So it is important we all get involved, as together we will come up with better solutions. This doesn’t mean we will necessarily get everything we want. Sometimes the solution will be better than we had originally wanted, but sometimes the reality of what things cost will have to be acknowledged and compromises made.
If you want to have your say a number of opportunities will be available. You can fill in the questionnaire about local health services or feel free to write to me and I will make sure your views are included.
To write to Dr Reeve using the form on the 'Contact us' page of this website.
Hugh Reeve works as a GP at the Nutwood Surgery, Grange-over-Sands