Local patients have recently joined forces with doctors and nurses to improve health care services in Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire. The team of patients and clinicians jointly reviewed musculoskeletal (muscle and bone problems), ophthalmology (eye problems) and dermatology (skin problems) services in the area. As a result of their review patients came up with a blueprint to improve those services, and many of these improvements have begun to take place.
The three services all faced similar challenges. Patients told the CCGs and the Hospital Trust that they were dissatisfied with the services and that they would prefer services close to home, they wanted to receive better communication and information, and they wanted to have a more easier way to access the services. Patients felt that the way services were set up was complicated and confusing. All three services faced unprecedented demand as an increasing number of patients needing the specialist care that these services provided. As a result of this, waiting times were high and patients weren’t being seen quick enough.
Clinicians and Commissioners knew that they could not improve services without the involvement of patients and they set up three patient/clinician “coproduction” groups – for MSK (muscle and bone problems), Ophthalmology (eye problems) and dermatology (skin problems). The groups set out to reduce waiting times, manage demand, improve access to the services, and improve the experience and outcomes for patients.
Each of the services have been redesigned by patients and clinicians working together. This week patients and clinicians met to review progress of the improvements to the services and gave the improvements a thumbs up. As a result of patient power, clinicians and commissioners have ensured that services are now available closer to people’s homes in their communities, a single point of access has been introduced to make it easier to access the services, waiting times are beginning to reduce, and the services work with patients to support self-care and shared decision making.
Dr Mark Dziobon, Local GP and Scheduled Care lead for East Lancashire CCG said: “These sessions are all about ensuring that patients and clinicians have an ongoing dialogue to help us shape services that are truly people centred, high quality and fit for purpose. It is a privilege to be in a position to support this important work and offer a clinical focus, whilst putting patients firmly in the driving seat. Also, whilst we celebrate the great success of the work to date, we are mindful that this is an on-going process and there is still a lot of work to be done”.
Jules Wall attended the MSK event and said: “I think the workshop showed that all the NHS organisations are listening to their patients and putting them at the centre of the redesign of musculoskeletal services across Pennine Lancashire. They have made a significant change which will bring positive outcomes for local people like myself who have long term chronic pain and inflammatory/arthritic conditions. I personally would like to thank the CCG for giving me the opportunity to be listened to.”
Patient co-production of health services has proved successful for the CCGs, and East Lancashire CCG has now gone a step further to ask East Lancashire patients to join forces to improve other services by joining their Patient Partners scheme. You can join by calling 01282 644627 or joining online:http://tinyurl.com/eastlancsccg-membership-form