In the second in a series of blogs on what it means to be a New Care Models Vanguard at the forefront of change, David Stenson, on behalf of Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, gives a patient’s perspective on the changes to his local services and his aspirations for the impact it will have on the rest of the NHS and future social care:
Following the abolition of Primary Care Trusts and the establishment of NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, I have been curious how CCGs would perform, particularly my local area of Dudley.
As often said, people are not interested in organisational boundaries or which organisations provide services – what they require is access to good services, whether health or social care, when they need it.
The philosophy of Dudley CCG is that GP practices should be the focal point for a wider range of services, supported by care pathways, which cannot be provided for patients in practices.
Having demonstrated a strong start, I was encouraged that Dudley CCG was selected to develop a new care model – a multispecialty community provider (MCP).
The model focusses on moving specialist care out of hospitals into the community. Dudley is one of only 29 sites selected from 269 applications and one of 14 MCP sites seeking to integrate health and social care across a local health economy.
The site visit in May started with the team being briefed about the aims and objectives of becoming an MCP. It enabled the CCG to identify potential barriers to progress such as having control of the estate and developing new roles which will help bring together health and social care.
Later, I participated in a discussion about leadership and change which will be crucial to becoming a successful MCP and, afterwards, I sat in on a multi-disciplinary team meeting at a GP practice. It was great to see the enthusiasm of a group of staff from different organisations, professions and voluntary organisations working together in the interests of people.
Day two opened with a staff engagement session which gave employees the opportunity to share their views – both at an individual and team level – on how an MCP will work on the ground. Staff enthusiasm and participation will be crucial to the success of the model of care.
Also included was a visit to a meeting of a patient participation group where a GP demonstrated an IT application which was particularly enlightening.
Clearly, the team wanted to “get under the skin” of the aims and objectives of the MCP – to really understand what the organisations are seeking to achieve. To get a feel that the partners had a clear view of “what’s it all about” and are fully committed to the shared objectives.
I believe the MCP model provides a great opportunity to develop further patient care in Dudley in an integrated health economy inclusive of social care, the voluntary sector and the public. Clear and transparent goals are essential.
For it to succeed, all staff, working from operational level to chief executives, must commit themselves to the new care models. The workforce has become increasingly specialised. Is there a need for more generic workers whoever the employer is?
There is a real opportunity for the Dudley CCG to inform the new care models team of the changes that are required at national level to support partners to implement the changes required at local level. The potential reduction of “top down” control and local flexibility is to be welcomed.
Implementation will be undertaken against a backdrop of the need to recruit GPs to replace those who will be retiring during the next few years. However, I would anticipate that a successful MCP will encourage prospective GPs to come to work in an organisation with patient care at its heart.
Every GP practice has PPG. There is a real opportunity for the groups to keep patients and their local communities informed of the changes as they occur and to help people to understand the changes and benefits.
Was I able to contribute to the visit and would I encourage other people to participate in the design of the vanguards? Yes I would. If we do not grasp these opportunities, we can only blame ourselves if our voices are not heard.