On Wednesday 17th June, clinical leaders have decided that there will be four single services introduced in Greater Manchester to treat some of the most seriously ill hospital patients under the Healthier Together plans.
There are three elements to the Healthier Together programme – Integrated Care, Primary Care and Hospital Care. Clinically led and driven by doctors, the programme aims to provide the best health and care for patients across Greater Manchester.
The Healthier Together decisions have been named as early priorities for the region’s ground-breaking devolution programme for health and care announced in February, involving NHS England, the 12 Greater Manchester CCGs, the 10 local authorities and 15 NHS Trusts.
Today’s decision is the second milestone following on from the announcement of plans to introduce seven day GP access across the whole of Greater Manchester, with an additional £7m investment to facilitate this expansion and plans for community care which includes boosting social care packages to help with hospital discharge and avoidable admissions.
Under the Healthier Together hospital plans to drive up quality and safety, ‘single services’ will be formed – networks of linked hospitals working in partnership. This means care will be provided by a team of medical staff who will work together across a number of hospital sites within the single service.
All hospitals specialise in providing certain types of care, for example some hospitals specialise in stroke care, others in cancer care. Similarly, one of the hospitals within each of the single services will specialise in general surgery and emergency medicine, for patients with life threatening conditions.
All hospitals will improve to ensure they meet the quality and safety standards. All hospitals will keep their existing specialisms and will continue to provide care to their local population as they do now.
Today members of the ‘Committees in Common’ (CiC), comprising of GPs from each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Greater Manchester, reviewed a range of evidence such as; the feedback from the public consultation held last year and data relating to; travel and access, quality and safety, transition (how easy it will be to achieve the change) and affordability and value for money.
The CiC reached a unanimous decision that implementing four single services would be the best way to deliver hospital services in Greater Manchester to improve standards of care and save more lives.
Dr Ranjit Gill, Chief Clinical Officer for Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group and a member of the CiC, said:
“Healthier Together is a cornerstone of the devolution programme. We have an opportunity here to transform our services to become some of the best in the country.
“Improvements to primary care and integrated care combined with hospitals working in partnership, sharing services, will enable us to provide patients with the high quality care they deserve every time.
I am confident we have selected the best option that will help us to save the most lives the in the fastest way.
“The evidence presented today demonstrated that four single services will offer exactly the same quality and benefits as five, however it will be quicker and easier to recruit the additional doctors we need to run four single services. This means we can start saving more lives, sooner. In the long term, four will also cost less to run, making our services more stable and sustainable for future generations”.
Chris Brookes, Medical Director for Healthier Together and A&E consultant said:
“I support the CiC’s decision to introduce four single services across Greater Manchester. Currently none of our hospitals meet all of the national quality and safety standards, therefore we are not currently providing the best care for our patients. For instance, only 3 out of our 8 hospitals have a consultant present in A&E for a minimum of 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, this just isn’t good enough. A shortage of senior A&E doctors means that patients who are seriously ill often are not seen quickly by a senior doctor, this is leading to people dying unnecessarily.
“We estimate that with these changes there will be about 300 fewer deaths each year after general surgery. Implementing four single services is the best option to ensure we start improving care and saving more lives as quickly as possible, which as a doctor, is my number one priority.”
Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and author of the Dalton review - a national review into models of hospital care across the UK, said;
“The Healthier Together proposals to have hospitals working in partnership, sharing the knowledge and skills of clinicians across Greater Manchester, is the way forward. During my time reviewing different models of care in the UK it became clear to me that patients receive a much better service and outcomes when hospitals work in partnership with others. Healthier Together will raise quality and standards which is what we all want for our health and social care services."
This model and way of working is entirely consistent with NHS England’s vision set out in the NHS five year forward view, to develop networks of linked hospitals to ensure patients with the most serious needs get to specialist emergency centres.
A further meeting will then take place next month on Wednesday 15th July for the CiC to decide the location of the single services and which hospitals will work in partnership.