Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) I OF­TEN hear the phrase ‘we have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion’ as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for NHS re­struc­ture.

While it’s ob­vi­ous that none of us is get­ting any younger, it’s some­times dif­fi­cult to ap­pre­ci­ate what the ef­fect may be on ser­vices.

How­ever, you don’t need to look far.

Life ex­pectancy in eastern Cheshire is well above the na­tional av­er­age, with the pro­por­tion of peo­ple over the age of 85 among the high­est in the north of Eng­land.

Sim­i­larly, one in five peo­ple in eastern Cheshire is over 65.

So, if pol­icy mak­ers need a vi­sion of the fu­ture, look no fur­ther.

There is a real op­por­tu­nity to re-shape ser­vices for to­day’s pop­u­la­tion to help the rest of the coun­try learn, hope­fully, to do it right.

There will be a fi­nan­cial short­fall of nearly £80m in eastern Cheshire by 2018/19 if de­mand for care ser­vices con­tin­ues at the cur­rent rate.

Ev­ery day, 12 times as many peo­ple go to see their GP than to A&E, yet one in three says they wait too long.

Of th­ese pa­tients, only one in 20 is re­ferred onto an­other part of the NHS.

In an age where we im­me­di­ately jump to con­cerns about A&E, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that a year of care un­der a GP costs the tax­payer less than one A&E ad­mis­sion.

Thank­fully, there is a so­lu­tion.

For the last 18 months, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group has been work­ing with Cheshire East coun­cil, NHS Eng­land, lo­cal GPs, the hos­pi­tal and men­tal health trusts to agree an ap­proach called Car­ing To­gether.

The vi­sion is sim­ple – build care around peo­ple, not dis­eases or or­gan­i­sa­tions.

This re­duces un­nec­es­sary hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions and en­ables peo­ple to live safely at home for as long as pos­si­ble.

The the­ory now needs chang­ing into re­al­ity. Im­ple­ment­ing new mod­els of care re­quires cul­tural, or­gan­i­sa­tional and con­trac­tual change.

Look out for a book­let, called Con­tin­u­ing the Con­ver­sa­tion, which will be pub­lished soon on the web­site car­ing­to­gether. info.

The book­let will ex­plain what still needs to hap­pen to make Car­ing To­gether a re­al­ity and how you can get in­volved.

Con­tin­u­ing the Con­ver­sa­tion will also be avail­able to pick up in GP surg­eries.

●● Dr Paul Bowen

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