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County moves one step closer to consultation on local health services

On Wednesday 25th January 135 senior clinical leaders, managers and key stakeholders came together to discuss, evaluate and consider a range of proposals health services.

The options included discussion of two possible proposals for hyper-acute stroke services and a range of options for urgent and emergency care services in Lincoln County, Boston Pilgrim and Grantham hospitals.

For stroke, expert clinicians were clear that specialist services provided on one site can deliver a much better quality of care for patients. This is because a single site, with the right skilled workforce, can see and treat more people and this leads to better results for patients. The Lincolnshire Heart Centre is a good example of where this has worked well in Lincolnshire in the past.

Three proposals were considered for Grantham hospital including returning to the service before August 2016, with a fully operational 24 hr A&E service but with the same restrictions on the seriousness of conditions that can be treated in Grantham, moving to a new 24 hour A&E centre still able to take medical admissions but with a different workforce, or moving to an urgent care centre facility.

There was also discussion of two options for a community-based learning disability service to replace the previous inpatient facility. The facility at Long Leys Court shut in 2015 and experts were able to give a positive update on the new community based learning disability service. This new service is in line with national best practice and is supporting people with learning disabilities within the community with much better outcomes for patients.

In the afternoon, there was extensive discusssion of five options for maternity and specialist children’s services (paediatrics) with a particular focus on the workforce challenges. This is a complex area where the national shortage of paediatric doctors and nurses means that current services are struggling to meet standards for the number of clinicians on site to support safe services.

There was also consideration of planned care, including discussions about centralising breast care into one centre of excellence in Lincolnshire to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The audience was also presented with the latest ideas for moving more care traditionally undertaken within hospitals into a community based setting. This would mean that for certain specialties patients could be seen and treated locally, by their GP or community nurse, rather than having to travel in to hospital for a procedure or appointment.

This event follows on from the work of the Lincolnshire Health and Care Programme to come up with a new model for delivering health and care in the county which will be both safe and sustainable in the long term.

All health organisations in Lincolnshire are committed to holding a public consultation in 2017 to get the views of residents on proposals for changes to these services. No final decisions will be made until after the public consultation.

Attendees were asked to consider the detailed evidence for each proposal and look at the impact of the proposal against four criteria – quality, access, affordability and deliverability. A detailed report will be produced over the coming weeks showing how the different proposals have been scored. This report will inform proposals for public consultation which will still need to be reviewed by an independent regional panel of experts and approved by NHS England before the consultation can be launched in May/June.

The meeting was attended by over 135 people from health and care organisations across the county as well as local politicians and representatives from local health and care groups within the independent and voluntary sectors.

Speaking after the event, Allan Kitt, Chief Officer of South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have had a detailed, evidence-based discussion today with some of our leading doctors, senior managers and local stakeholders to look at a range of options for changing our health services. While we didn’t all agree on every proposal, we’ve been able to have an informed and frank discussion about the impact of the proposals put forward.

This is a key part of the process to get us to a stage where we are ready to share the final proposals with the public. There are some difficult decisions to be made as some of these challenges have been ducked for too long. We are all committed to improving outcomes for the people of Lincolnshire and that means building on what works well, but being prepared to make changes if we want a modern, effective service.

I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the event and attended. We’re now one step closer to the public consultation.”

To see the slides used at this event please click here.