Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● DR Paul Bowen, GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG)

WHEN was the last time you bought your chips from one restau­rant, but your fish from an­other? How about ask­ing one garage to ser­vice your car, but driv­ing to an­other to do your MOT? It sounds waste­ful, dis­rup­tive and non­sen­si­cal, but as the chair of a com­mis­sion­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion, which pur­chases health care on your be­half, I of­ten feel the NHS makes life this com­pli­cated.

If you are un­for­tu­nate enough to have pneu­mo­nia, you are likely to find that your hos­pi­tal care is pro­vided from one or­gan­i­sa­tion, your com­mu­nity-based care from a dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion, your GP care from an­other, and your so­cial sup­port from the Lo­cal Au­thor­ity. It is there­fore no won­der that some­times, the NHS doesn’t al­ways get it right. Du­pli­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down, gaps in care and in­ef­fi­cien­cies thrive in such a non-in­te­grated sys­tem.

The NHS has never had a greater need or bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to change this. We could keep buy­ing and pro­vid­ing health care like our fish, chips and peas – sep­a­rately, hop­ing they ar­rive on our plate at the same time, hot and fresh, or we could or­ches­trate care en­tirely dif­fer­ently, buy­ing and pro­vid­ing the whole ex­pe­ri­ence rather than each el­e­ment, on your be­half. This is called in­te­grated care. Lo­cally we call this Car­ing To­gether.

It will re­quire GPs, so­cial and men­tal health care, com­mu­nity ser­vices and hos­pi­tal-based ser­vices to work to­gether dif­fer­ently to de­liver the care seam­lessly. They may need to part­ner up with other or­gan­i­sa­tions in and out­side of East­ern Cheshire to do so, and they will need to think in­no­va­tively and in­volve you, the pa­tients, to make it work. We must de­velop our care providers and ask them to join to­gether to de­liver in­te­grated care, so you, the pub­lic, ex­pe­ri­ence a seam­less, high qual­ity, ef­fi­cient ser­vice.

The CCG does not in­tend to con­tinue to nor can it af­ford to buy care ser­vices the way we cur­rently do.

This will un­doubt­edly change the make-up of how lo­cal ser­vices are pro­vided. It will re­quire tough de­ci­sions of our lo­cal lead­ers and sup­port and un­der­stand­ing from our pub­lic, pa­tients and staff.

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