By Bill Gowans, Vice-Chair/Clinical Director of Transformational Change Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
Firstly I’d like to say how am proud to have played a part in leading the clinical design workstream of NHS Future Fit. Following six months of intensive meetings we published our clinical design report in May 2014. This report explains the clinical model and is effectively a whole system plan which shows the way in which hospital services in the future will be provided as part of an joined up health and social care system across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. The plan and the report is the result of the engagement and teamwork of 300 clinicians and patients from all walks of life and it is because of this level of engagement that it forms such an important foundation for the rest of the NHS Future Fit programme.
First and foremost, it describes the changes in working practices which are required to integrate care in a sustainable way, not just financially, but also to establish a thriving and stable workforce. The much publicised changes in buildings and facilities, such as one Emergency Centre along with a number of Urgent Care Centres, are described as the means by which the changes and integration in working practices can be delivered, not the other way around.
In many ways our work has just begun. More detailed planning lies ahead. Part of which is to carefully describe how more care can be safely delivered in the community, in peoples’ homes and what the exact role primary care has in this, for example the role of GPs. There are other huge areas of work which must also be done to enable the success of NHS Future Fit. We need to work on how we can make efforts to prevent people from becoming unwell in the first place and getting long term illnesses as a result of lifestyle choices. This will need to happen through local community action and partnerships, developing a joined up, whole health care system plan and establishing training, education and a culture of continuous learning across the whole system of care.