From virtual appointments to delaying surgery for smokers: The health service changes happening across Yorkshire

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These are some of the changes planned for health services across Yorkshire:

Scarborough: CCG has introduced thresholds around smoking and BMI, while it is consulting on stopping prescriptions for all but the most basic of gluten-free foods. Follow-up hospital appointments are under review.

Hull: Funding bids have been submitted to pilot online consultations and booking services. The council has secured funding for new ‘assistive technologies’ for people with learning difficulties to help them to live independently in their own home. These include fingerprint locks, environment monitors, medication dispensers, and sensors and talking devices to keep people safe in the kitchen, bathroom and at night. Some GP practices have already merged, sharing staff and increasing incomes. The CCG is exploring options to use reception staff as ‘care navigators’, directing people to the care they need.

Rotherham: Patients could take their blood pressure at home and text their result to the practice - who would then take action if the result is out of range. Other plans include ‘virtual clinics’, and it is hoped some cancer patients may be able to have chemotherapy treatment at home rather than going to hospital.

East Riding: Patients with a BMI of over 35 are to be asked to lose weight through a six-month “health-optimisation process” before undergoing hip and knee operations, while smokers may also be asked to quit to qualify for non-urgent operations. Only the most basic gluten-free foods are now available on prescription. The CCG also hopes to bring in Physician’s Associates.

Harrogate: Routine surgery funded by the CCG will be delayed by six months for patients who smoke or those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more as they are encouraged to improve their health. Since autumn, Harrogate CCG no longer routinely prescribes some gluten-free products to people with coeliac disease.

York: Vale of York CCG has agreed to delay non-life threatening surgery for smokers or those with a BMI exceeding 30, asking them to quit or lose weight.

Gluten Free: Other CCGs have also announced consultations in recent months to stop prescribing gluten-free foods to people with coeliac disease. Among them are Wakefield, North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby.

Technology: Residential and nursing homes in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale, and Craven are trialling new video-link technologies and health monitoring equipment

Skyping: Rural GP surgeries between Knaresborough and York are trialling new video-call ‘virtual appointments’ with patients or group therapies.