We are now in a new financial year and with the CCG having had statutory responsibility for commissioning services for two years, I want to emphasise what we have achieved in that time.
When we were setting up the CCG I used an acronym LIDPIP to help me remember what to say when asked what the CCG was going to do. This prompted me to talk about our aim of making life better for the people of Blackburn with Darwen and one of the ways to measure this was if people lived for longer and had improved well-being or quality of life.
The way we were going to do this would be by working in partnership with both statutory and third sector, integrating services where possible and working with individual patients encouraging and enabling them to care for themselves as much as possible.
The CCG would make the maximum use of the membership recognising that doctors and other clinicians in regular contact with a wide range of patients were best placed to decide which services to commission, as well as gaining intelligence about the quality and effectiveness of those services.
We would try to provide care closer to home so that the right care was given in the right place at the right time.
We would be ambitious in our plans to improve services, not be afraid to innovate and would reduce the inequalities in health that we know exist.
Finally we would work hard at getting the public involved by listening to the voices of patients either directly or through their carers, Heathwatch and similar organisations.
So how have we performed?
Life expectancy has increased and from some of the patient stories we hear about how our integrated care teams are beginning to make a difference. The Health and Wellbeing Board has approved the plan for us to work together with partners using the Better Care Fund which involves close working between the CCG, Blackburn with Darwen Council, third sector organisations and both public and private sector providers of services.
We have formed four strong locality groups of GP members, and others, to enable a distinct approach to better meet the needs of communities, and work with a range of partners to improve the lives of people in those neighbourhoods. The intention is to make best use of the supports which exist and the resources held by individual patients and their family as well as friends and neighbours and more formal groups of paid workers or volunteer. We already have a directory of services which contains details of a wide range of sources of support and our CVS is a vital source of information of this type.
We have forged constructive relationships with colleagues and recognise how fortunate we are to have a unitary council and a Healthwatch which serve the same area and therefore population as the CCG. Meetings have been held with representatives of Patient Participation Groups attached to our practices and these give the opportunity for discussion about topics such as improving access and how we can improve the provision of information to patients.
We have recently reviewed our objectives and a revised set were agreed at our Governing Body in March. To remember these I now LIE and talk about:
- Life expectancy, living better, living longer, adding life to years as well as years to life.
- Integration of services with partners, tackling inequality, improving services, being innovative and imaginative.
- Engaging with patients and public, encouraging people to care for themselves, commissioning effective services, enhancing the patient experience.
This does not mean that we have lost the clinical focus rather that it is now seen as routine to have clinical leads for service developments and for doctors to be prominent members of bodies such as the Health and Wellbeing Board.
Nor does it mean that we no longer want to move services closer to the homes of patients as with developments such as our intensive support to people in their own home we are trying to prevent people going to hospital unnecessarily.
As we enter our third year of operation we have new opportunities represented by starting to co-commission primary care GP services jointly with NHS England, as well as working with others to use the resources available from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to deliver these objectives and make a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Blackburn with Darwen.
I also want to report on two events I attended recently. One was the official opening of the new leisure centre in the town centre; a joint venture between the college and the council. This already seems to be attracting more people to take exercise as a means of improving their health. The second was the presentation of certificates to people from local care homes who have been trained how to help people in their care who have suffered a stroke to regain as much independent functioning as possible. This is a partnership between The Stroke Association, staff from local residential and nursing/care homes and the NHS. These indicate how both services available to the general public and those aimed at particular groups of patients are needed if we are to make the improvements we envisaged when we set our objectives.