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Crich Patient Participation Group.

Safeguarding Patient Care in the Crich Area

 

Challenges facing our health and social care provision in the Crich area

 

Health and social care are currently undergoing major changes in our community. Funds are being withdrawn from the Glebe’s Day Care services, leaving it at risk. Crich Medical Practice is being encouraged to collaborate with other nearby practices, such as those in Alfreton and Ripley, and health and care services across Derbyshire are planning to work more closely together.

The CPPG sees it as part of our remit to understand the forces behind these changes and inform the communities of the implications for the delivery of health and care in our villages.

One of the major changes that we will all be aware of is the on-going shortfall in money and resources available for health and care services. The demand for healthcare increases year on year, particularly as more of us live longer, and with greater health needs, the demand continues to out-strip funding. The NHS Five Year Forward View published in October 2014 calculated that, if health and care services continued providing the same services in the same ways, then by 2020/21 the shortfall in funding would reach £30billion! In Derbyshire the combined financial gap for health and social care by 2020/21, if we don’t change the ways in which we deliver services, or find additional resources, is a staggering £355million. This is the driving force behind changes such as encouraging our Practice to collaborate with other Practices in the north of Amber Valley (one benefit of this collaboration has been to secure the future of the Carers’ Assessments that take place every month at the Crich Surgery). Also, the Derby and Burton hospitals are examining how collaboration between them can be made in order to make savings of millions of pounds.

The other change that is less widely discussed is the pressure to reform social care and integrate it better with the delivery of health care: for example, the drive to move patients out of hospitals into care homes to reduce delays in the transfer of care (sometimes referred to as “bed blocking”). Behind this is a push to change the delivery of health and care at the local level to help reduce demand on hospital services. For example, many older people suffer falls, break bones and end up in Accident and Emergency, where their stay can be lengthened by a lack of services back in their community. Yet we know that different forms of exercise taken regularly can reduce the number of falls, especially among the elderly. If the provision of exercise can be improved within the community this will reduce the demand on hospitals and save them – and us as tax payers – money.

In an attempt to tackle these problems the government have instigated plans to reform the health care system, known as Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). These plans aim to reform the delivery of social care at the local level and integrate it better with health care in order to reduce the demand on hospitals, thereby saving millions. In Derbyshire the STP is called Joined Up Care Derbyshire. You can find this at:
http://www.southernderbyshireccg.nhs.uk/publications/joinedupcarederbyshire/

The implementation of the Plan has been delayed and the changes it will introduce may not be exactly as originally planned. In the meantime the landscape continues to shift. We have already seen a negative impact on community provision with Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (SDCCG), the body responsible for allocating funds for health care locally, cutting its funding of the Glebe Centre, despite the commitments to community-based care outlined in the STP! SDCCG argues that, as the Day Care facility does not deal with illnesses, its’ activities are the responsibility of the Local Authority. But Local Authority funds have also been massively cut for many years, and they can’t fill that funding gap. The government has now recognised this and allowed Local Authorities to raise additional money through a rise in Council tax to be used exclusively for older people’s care. This is why the aims of increasing the resources available for social care, and enhancing the ways in which social care and health providers work together more efficiently, should be beneficial, but at the local level we are yet to see these benefits.
Crich PPG is responding to these changes in three different ways.

 

  • First, we are helping our Practice in their measures to become more efficient, for example, by publicising the new on-line system for making appointments and re-ordering prescriptions, and by helping in the struggle to retain rural dispensaries by arguing the case with politicians and other decision-makers.
  • Second, by working with local groups providing social care to support their work and build up social care provision in areas where it is absent in the villages. For example, through the activities of the Dementia Group we established, we aim to make the villages “dementia friendly” and provide activities for those with dementia and for their carers.
  • Finally, we are working with other PPGs in Derbyshire to make sure the patient voice is heard as reforms are being discussed and implemented. We are keeping a watchful eye on the STP and will keep our communities informed of future developments and their implication for us.


If you wish to join us in these activities you will be very welcome. We are always looking for new members.
David Ashton, Paul Devlin and Frances James
Crich Patient Participation Group.
crichppg@gmail.com

01773 857334