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05.12.16

‘Major changes’ proposed in first formal STP consultation in the country

Dorset CCG has begun a three-month consultation on major service changes which it has put forward in its STP, marking the launch of the first formal STP consultation by a footprint in England.

The consultation follows a long process between Dorset CCG and NHS England to receive approval to kick-start the consultation, which includes changes developed by the CCG in an earlier Clinical Services Review (CSR). While a few other footprints are also consulting on potential changes as a result of STPs, these were started before plans were actually published.

The CCG is now urging local residents to submit their views on “proposals that could see major changes to acute hospital and community care services”.

As expected, the changes will include a greater emphasis on preventative and community-based services by potentially replacing community hospital beds and a small number of the CCG’s 13 community hospital sites with new “community hubs”, along with changes to acute services.

“Community hubs provide a joint health and social care team approach to caring for patients, particularly the elderly and frail,” the consultation document said. “They will allow you to have outpatient appointments outside of acute hospitals and closer to home. Care is provided by an extended multidisciplinary team with health and care staff working together from a single central location.

“With public support to access services in these new ways, it will help us to meet the 25% reduction in unplanned medical admissions and the 20% reduction in unplanned surgical admissions that is required by our proposals for improving acute hospital care.”

Dorset CCG’s proposed changes to its acute services include changing Royal Bournemouth Hospital into a “major emergency hospital”, thereby turning the A&E unit at Poole Hospital into a smaller urgent care centre.

Royal Bournemouth would also assume Poole’s obstetric-led maternity and inpatient paediatrics units, transforming Poole Hospital into a hospital for “major planned care”. However, Dorset County Hospital, based in Dorchester, would retain his A&E.

The CCG estimates that a capital investment of £147-189m will be required for the acute hospital changes, while the capital cost of up to £20m for changes in the community will be found locally.

The consultation will run until 28 February 2017.

Dorset CCG chair Forbes Watson said of the consultation: “These proposals are the outcome of collective work from local clinicians who are experts in their area of work.

“At the start of the review they were tasked with designing Dorset’s future healthcare so it could continue to deliver the high standard of care local people are used to receiving both now and in the future.”

In the November/December edition of PSE, Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, discussed the importance of stakeholder engagement and transparency if STPs are to deliver their aims and objectives.

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