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Fylde coast healthcare leading the way

HEALTH bosses across the Fylde coast say they are delighted to have been chosen as one of only a few areas in the country to receive support to progress towards being an accountable care system.

Speaking at the annual NHS Confederation Conference today (Thursday 15 June), Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS in England named Blackpool and the Fylde coast as one of a select few areas which will progress new ways of working in order to benefit patients, staff and organisations

The NHS organisations in the area, namely NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust along with Blackpool Council and other local authority partners have a strong history of working together and have recently begun to look at ways in which this could be made easier by introducing a concept called ‘accountable care’.

‘Accountable care’ refers to organisations working collaboratively together to make collective decisions in the best interest of their local communities about plans and priorities as well as how to best use all of their resources. Currently, this is sometimes difficult because of barriers which exist around how services can be funded and managed.

This would not only benefit local people’s health and experiences of care but also better allow professionals who provide services, but are employed by different organisations, work much more closely together. It will also help make sure that the services available to local people are sustainable for the future as a result of organisations working together to make the best use of the collective resources available to them.

Some of this work has already begun to happen with the introduction of a dedicated community based service for over 60s with multiple long-term conditions and new locally based Neighbourhood Care Teams across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre. These developments not only mean care closer to home for local people, helping them to stay well and avoid conditions worsening to the point of needing a hospital admission; but it also helps the local NHS purse, reduces pressures on hospitals and GPs; and improves patient experiences.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Amanda Doyle, a Blackpool GP and chief clinical officer at NHS Blackpool CCG, said: “We are obviously very pleased that our hard work and progress to date have received this level of endorsement.

“Over the last few years we’ve put a real focus into doing things differently. We knew that we couldn’t just continue to do more of the same if we are to really meet some of the challenges we face. That’s why making the best use of the money, staff and services we have is crucial.

“That’s already started to happen with things like our Extensive Care service and we’ve also made considerable efforts with Blackpool Council to better coordinate health and social care services much more closely.

“Over the next few months we’ll be continuing to look at the best ways in which we can all work together and talking to our staff, patients and other partners as we progress.

“This will not only benefit people across Blackpool and the Fylde coast but our learning and experiences will also help to shape healthcare for the future in other areas across Lancashire and the rest of the country too.”

Wendy Swift, chief executive at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to hear the announcement.

“This is really good news for people across the Fylde coast and is testament to the fantastic work that staff across all organisations have been doing for some time.

“One example is the Extensive Care service where we’ve seen the number of times patients in the service visit A&E, are admitted to hospital and need to attend other appointments all fall.

“That not only means we are helping to support patients better through the care they receive and their experiences of this but means we are reducing the demands on staff and services too.

“The introduction of the Neighbourhood Care Teams means we are able to support even more patients in the community and the progress we’ve made together with these developments just goes to show the benefits that this can have for patients, staff and services.

“We are excited by what the future holds and really welcome this news.”

Dr Tony Naughton, a Thornton GP and clinical chief officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG said: “The pressures the NHS is under are well-known and so making the best use of all our resources is really critical. We’ve made good progress so far and the support that this announcement will bring with it will help us to take things even further.

“Working together like this makes sense for everyone.”