With 18% of the South Tees population already over 65, and that set to increase to around 22% by 2021, we are right to focus our attentions on the health needs of our ageing local population”, says Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald.
“I met with the South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group last week and they are making a positive case for change in the way health services are planned and managed for elderly patients. Not only is this timely, it is an imperative. Click here for details
From today (30th April 2014) the STCCG is beginning a formal consultation on their proposals about how services need to change. “It makes complete sense to me”, said Mr McDonald, “that we look at how we make best use of the health service estate, provide more opportunities for people to receive rehabilitation at home and provide more accessible, joined-up health and social care services.
“Of course, as with all change there will be challenges. For example, I have long since rejected the notion that the quality of a service is dependent upon services being delivered from a particular building in a particular location.
“We have been wedded to the idea of having people in hospital beds for too long. Although this has improved much in recent years there is further work to do. We have to look at the estate and make sure we are not paying out vast sums of money for buildings that are at the end of their useful life or with empty wards when the money can be better spent on keeping people healthy.
“As our population gets older, we need to ask how we maximise and coordinate scarce resources to provide effective, sustainable care which accord with patient’s wishes. That means improving services to people in their communities, providing services that will more commonly be in their homes or making better use of increasingly widespread and excellent community health provision.
“There is no doubt that our local health service is brilliant when it comes to acute hospital care. We now need to match that with excellent rehabilitation in the community and, as far as possible, with more and more patients being treated in their homes.
“Having met with the STCCG, I find their evidence compelling. Half of all patients in community beds and one-third of patients in acute beds do not have a medical need and can be better supported by other services. There is a need, therefore, for the NHS and local councils along with other social care providers to be working closely together to that end.
“Thinking carefully and more broadly about the best way to meet the future care and rehabilitation needs of our elderly population is an objective we should all support.
“This mirrors closely Labour’s vision of whole person care, integrating health and social care with patient choice at the centre of that. The STCCG ‘IMPROVE’ programme is taking a bold step in developing more responsive, joined up services to care for the growing population of older people and those with long term health and other care needs.
“We now need to examine what the STCCG is saying very carefully and I look forward to working with all interested parties to scrutinize these innovative proposals to ensure they will result in the improvements to healthcare and health outcomes that we all want to see.
“It is essential therefore that the full details of these proposals are understood and I am pleased to see that there is going to be a thorough programme of consultation.
“I strongly encourage residents to go along to the public meetings and hear from the STCCG first hand”, said Mr McDonald.