Review starts into health care services for children and old

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A MAJOR shake-up of health and social care services in Huddersfield and Calderdale is being proposed as NHS bosses deal with budget cuts and the growing impact of an ageing population.

The review, led by clinicians in the area, involves seven local organisations and will focus on children’s care, long-term care, unplanned care and planned care.

It is among a number to be launched in the region as part of efforts by NHS and social care chiefs to shift care out of expensive hospitals and into the community.

A major reconfiguration of clinical care is set to take place in the Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract area as the crisis-hit Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust grapples with a deficit expected to hit £26m in 2011-12.

Sweeping changes are also likely in North Yorkshire where there have been prolonged financial problems in the NHS for a decade. Further reviews are also taking place on both banks of the Humber.

Officials say the latest review is being carried out because people are not only living longer but also suffering with more complex, long-term conditions, which place greater demand on services. It also aims to address the need for efficiency savings and problems of recruiting staff in key areas.

The initiative will focus on the need to ensure the same quality of service regardless of the time of day or day of the week.

Discussions will take place over the coming months and will involve staff, patients and the public in looking at how services can be developed to meet rising demands and changing health needs.

Slaithwaite GP Paul Wilding, chairman of the strategic review steering group, said: “Health and social care services face real challenges over the next five years – people’s needs are changing, our population is ageing and the demand for services and support continues to increase.

“We want to make sure people get the best possible care to keep them healthy, safe and well and the only way to do this is to make significant changes to the way services are planned and delivered.

“We will be working with doctors, nurses and other clinical and social care staff, as well as service users and local people, to take full account of the challenges and opportunities we are facing, and look at how we can best work together to deliver services.”

Adrian Lythgo, chief executive of Kirklees Council, said: “Here in Kirklees, like everywhere else, health and social care services are facing significant challenges.

“We continue to see people’s needs changing, often with more complex health and support needs. To address this we need to continue to increase our focus on delivering support services that intervene as early as possible and prevent people losing their independence and improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

“In order to deliver high quality services that meet the needs of local people with the resources we have available, we need to continue to work in partnership.

Officials say that if changes to services are proposed there will be a consultation process next spring ahead of implementation between 2013 and 2015.

Hospital bosses in Barnsley are offering local people a chance to hear about future plans at their annual meeting on Wednesday next week.

Hospital chairman Stephen Wragg, said: “Last year we faced our greatest challenges with no uplift in our budget, the scale and pace of NHS reforms and rising numbers of patients coming to our A&E.

“Looking forward to this year and beyond the biggest challenge we face as an organisation is to transform how we work as a district hospital while continuing to meet our patients’ needs and putting quality and safety first.”

The meeting will take place at the Digital Media Centre, County Way, Barnsley, from 5.30-7pm. To register to attend ring Carol Dudley on 01226 435000.