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Blog: Award-winning CCG reshapes community services

Blog: Award-winning CCG reshapes community services

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Despite many successes and innovative projects, the strain of running an award-winning clinical commissioning group is beginning to take its toll, but Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG is remaining optimistic. Clinical chair Dr Stewart Findlay explains... 

Here we are in our fourth month as a CCG. It has been a tough four months and we seem to spend much of our time reacting to crises. 

Our local foundation trust (FT) has had to suspend its midwifery led unit as a result of a number of issues and I have had to face an Overview and Scrutiny Committee, concerned about the move of emergency medical admissions to a more distant site. The amount of time spent on such issues is considerable.

It is difficult to remember the things that are going well but we have had a number of successes over the last few months.

Many of our reviews have progressed well and we have had very constructive meetings with our community nurses and will this month complete meetings with our member practices. We will then be in a position to reshape the way many of our community services are provided and improve integration between our community nurses and primary care. Our review of urgent care and emergency ambulance services will also be near to completion by the end of this month.

We have won two awards sponsored by Pharmatimes and NHS England for working in partnership with industry. This involved a project to redesign urology services and an experience led commissioning project around stroke prevention. This sort of thing is always a huge boost for staff morale.

We have also been working on Chronic Obstructive Airways disease in two of our localities. This work has been shown to reduce emergency admissions and to improve assessments according to NICE guidance and we are near to being able to roll out a combination of the two pilots across the whole of DDES.

We have set up a community diabetic service. It has resulted in a significant decrease in secondary care referrals and a QIPP saving. We are therefore in the process of rolling this out across the other two localities.

Our community based management of DVT has been running over two localities for the last two years but has just been refreshed to take in to account the latest NICE guidance. We are using this as an opportunity to implement it in the third locality that has had difficulty accessing ultrasound scans to date. This service results in a much more local service for patients and a significant saving for us as a CCG. It should be available to all of our patients no matter where they live and we are insisting that the FT that is not allowing direct access to their ultrasound department, comes in to line with other local FTs.

Finally the comprehensive spending review is going to have a huge impact on the NHS. Although we will not lose 3% of our recurring budget until 2015/16, we will need to begin planning for that loss in this years contracting round. This will potentially result in a huge non-recurrent pool of funds next year and a requirement to industrialise all of our new pathways, particularly those that will result in savings in real terms.

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