Patients and members of the public from across South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula came together this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS and hear of future plans for improved healthcare.
The occasion was the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group and the event was held at the Wade Street Baptist Church in Lichfield.
Lichfield GP and CCG Chair, Dr Shammy Noor, started the event with a personal thank you to the NHS for supporting him as a patient with Type 1 Diabetes. He highlighted the many different parts of the NHS that have helped him over the years, from the nurses who support him with education about his condition, the consultants who advise on what insulin pumps to use and the staff behind the scenes who help to keep the wheels of the NHS moving.
He said: “The NHS is not just about doctors and nursing providing care at the front line but the whole team behind them and as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, I wanted to offer a personal debt of gratitude for everything they have done for me.”
Dr Noor went on to outline how the development of a single commissioning team across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will improve services for patients. He also talked about how the revolution in digital technology is helping the NHS to meet rising demands, empowering patients to manage long term conditions, greatly enabling more patients to share their views and experiences via social media, and helping clinicians share information in new ways.
Marcus Warnes, the CCGs’ Accountable Officer, spoke of key priorities for the next 12 months. Chief among these is the improvement of services for older people with complex health needs and the need for better end-of-life care. He also gave an update on the work of the Together We’re Better partnership that brings together all organisations in Staffordshire that are responsible for delivering health and care.
Members of the public then heard three presentations from clinical leads in each of the three areas covered by the CCG – Lichfield, Tamworth and Seisdon Peninsula.
Dr Sukhdip Johal, Clinical Director for the Seisdon Locality, spoke about the geographical challenges in Seisdon and how the nine GP practices are working collaboratively to overcome them. She spoke about work being done to improve care for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and to introduce extended access to primary care services from September.
Dr Sekhar Singu, Clinical Director for the Tamworth Locality, presented on a scheme that was introduced to manage winter pressures by offering additional appointments to patients. Clinics were held in the Outpatients Department at Sir Robert Peel Hospital, which practices had access to, as well as a Frailty Clinic for the over 65s. The scheme ran for 20 weeks with appointments being made available Monday to Saturday with 10 out of the 11 practices taking part and 3186 additional appointments being made.
To round off the evening Jane Holmes, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner with the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, gave a passionate presentation about the work she is doing in partnership with Lichfield GPs to improve the care received and outcomes for the residents in care homes. The scheme involves Advanced Nurse Practitioners attending scheduled ward rounds daily in both residential and nursing homes to see and treat residents. The result has been to not only reduce some of the pressure on GPs, excellent examples of residents being supported to die in their chosen place, partnership working between the care home staff, the ANPs and GPs and a reduction in the use of ambulances and hospital admissions.
Joan Fox, a retired nurse who had worked in the NHS for 60 years, thanked Jane for her presentation, saying: “It is so lovely to see our nurses still have such a passion for caring for patients.”
There were questions from the public on a range of subjects including questions around future engagement on the STP, increasing the use of the community and voluntary sector in supporting local health care services and plans to develop new primary care premises in Burntwood.
Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the six CCGs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I would like to thank everyone who attended our AGM in Lichfield. I’ve been impressed by the local success stories and the enthusiasm of local people about their health needs and views of the CCGs, both positive and negative. It’s been apparent that each community has a different perspective and differing needs and priorities, but the value and importance placed upon our NHS is universal and very humbling.”