Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are made up of GPs who come together to form a membership.
Along with lay members, they are clinically-led decision-making bodies who are responsible for designing and buying local health and care services.
Six CCGs do this for the 1.1 million people who live across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We need to keep ahead of the growing and changing needs of the people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This means we need to be much better at how we plan, buy and deliver health and care services for everyone.
Following consultation in late 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care presented to the House of Commons a ‘white paper’ in February 2021.
Titled ‘Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all’, the heart of the legislative proposals is the goal of joined-up care for everyone in England. Instead of working independently, every part of the NHS, public health and social care system should continue to seek out ways to connect, communicate and collaborate so that the health and care needs of people are met.
Healthy, fulfilled, independent and longer lives for the people of England will require health and care services, local government, NHS bodies, and others to work ever more closely together. Different professions, organisations, services and sectors will work with common purpose and in partnership. This will be especially important when we seek to focus on the people and communities that are most in need of support.
The proposals seek to establish a statutory Integrated Care System (ICS) in each ICS area. These will be made up of an ICS NHS Body and a separate ICS Health and Care Partnership, bringing together the NHS, local government and partners.
The ICS NHS body will be responsible for the day to day running of the ICS, while the ICS Health and Care Partnership will bring together systems to support integration and develop a plan to address the systems’ health, public health, and social care needs. Both bodies will need to draw on the experience and expertise of frontline staff across health and social care. ICSs will be accountable for outcomes of the health of the population.
The creation of a merged CCG is a necessary step on the journey towards the creation of an ICS for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
What is being planned?
- Fundamentally reforming how we work together with other partners across the health and care system to meet the needs of everyone in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent where it makes sense to do so.
- Making sure that local GPs have a strong, fair and appropriate voice when deciding where money should be spent.
- Working together across the region and also in smaller neighbourhoods to make sure that the right skills, capacity and resources are in the right place at the right time to meet patients’ needs.
- Improving work-life balance and job conditions for GPs and other primary care staff.
Deciding to merge now gives us significantly more freedom and flexibility from October 2021 to design a system that works for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with a focus on developing and establishing three Place-Based Partnerships in the north, south-east and south-west.
The proposal has been approved by the GP membership
After months of discussions and a week of voting, in February 2021 the GP membership voted to form a single Strategic Commissioning Organisation across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. They agreed it is the best way forward and will create a more efficient and streamlined structure. By securing and strengthening the role of General Practice and working more closely together, it was felt this would be beneficial to the development of new services
which would improve patient care.
This is an important step in formalising the Integrated Care System for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The next step is listening to the views of stakeholders and the public before a formal application is made to NHS
England and NHS Improvement.
The plan as outline in the white paper and in the NHS Long Term Plan released in January 2019, has pointed towards the need for single commissioning organisations.
By shaping our future for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, we have a golden opportunity to protect both the health and care system with primary care at its heart.
Improving GP services – what does this mean for patients?
- Secures and strengthens the role of GP practice, helping to design a system that works for our service and patients.
- The new plans hopefully will deliver efficient resources into Primary Care.
- We believe that by having a single set of objectives and the move towards an integrated care system with integrated care providers will deliver a better overall model of care to our patients.
Decision making at a neighbourhood level
- We want to make sure that decision making is done where possible at neighbourhood level, allowing GPs a stronger voice and more control over the delivery of local services.
- GPs should also be an equal provider in the whole system health and care solution by having equal rights at a strategic level.
- GPs would be able to have a greater say in health and care at a grassroots level.
- In real terms, GPs would be able to influence their workload and determine how primary care fits into patient care by being front and centre of the commissioning process.
- Patient care and clinical treatment paths should be designed by those who understand patient needs best.
Financial Equity and Risk
- At system level, we want to make best use of every Staffordshire pound and achieve financial balance.
- By becoming a single organisation, we will be in a better position to access transformative funding.
- At local level, Integrated Care Partnerships, and therefore Practices would receive more investment
for services and determine how to spend it.
Out of hospital care
We aim to design a health and care system where care is transformed by clinical leaders:
- We want to make sure that GPs and hospital services are treated equally in importance.
- Care would be provided closer to people’s homes, with having to go into hospital being the last resort.
- We want to see leaders from different organisations working together to tackle priorities.
How we will maintain local decision making for local people
A single CCG would follow the arrangements of the Health Scrutiny and Health and Wellbeing Boards at Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. It would allow for more effective partnership
Our GP members will continue to work in local networks to inform our decisions and services, based on local needs. They will be able to work in an agile and flexible way to commission services to meet the different needs of local residents. This would include programmes with partners such as improving health and wellbeing, social prescribing,
providing self-care advice and helping people to better manage their long-term conditions.
We have already involved the six CCGs’ Governing Bodies, and the 147 member GP practices.
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