A public consultation on proposed changes to local hospital and community services in Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield runs until June 21st. Here, Dr Alan Brook, a Rastrick GP and Chairman of NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explains the challenges facing the NHS in Calderdale.
Better drugs, advances in medical science, more effective treatment and improved surgical techniques are helping to improve patients’ quality of life and life expectancy. Our population is growing and more people are living longer with long-term conditions like diabetes, heart disease and chronic chest conditions.
The best way to treat these people is services based in the community, rather than in hospital. In recent years, we have made real progress in Calderdale, with initiatives such as Quest for Quality in Care Homes. This is a model of care which has significantly reduced the number of hospital stays for care home residents.
A recent programme of care called the Integrated Respiratory Service is also reducing the number of hospital admissions caused by respiratory illnesses, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), by offering patients direct access to a Specialist Respiratory Community Services (SRCS).
NHS Calderdale CCG is committed to further strengthening community services, reducing the need for hospital admission.
As a GP and for my patients, it is also important to know that when it is necessary for me to refer patients to hospital, the services they receive are of the safest, highest quality.
Currently, in our hospitals in Calderdale and Huddersfield, we cannot employ enough doctors and nurses and are struggling to meet national guidance for some services.
That is why we (NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG), working closely with colleagues at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, have developed proposals we believe will give the people of Calderdale and Huddersfield the best quality health care now and in the future.
We need to address changes in healthcare or we will not be able to afford the improvements needed to deliver consistently safe, high quality, care. If we do not change our system will not be sustainable. We are trying to make the best use of our financial and staffing resources.
Our priorities are to save more lives, keep people healthy, make services safer and improve quality of care.