Health leaders in Northumberland have approved plans for a new state-of-the-art hospital for Berwick.

The move, described as a ‘huge leap forward’, has been approved by the leadership of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG) in their individual board meetings, which took place at the end of last month.  

The development of a new integrated health, social care and leisure facility requires further approval from Northumberland County Council, however all organisations are positive that plans continue to be driven forward that will see Berwick leading the way in the provision of integrated health and wellbeing services.  If approved at the Council’s Cabinet next month, the plans will see an innovative new joint hospital and leisure facility on the Swan Centre site in Berwick – which will bring significant investment into the town.  Read more.

 

The urgent care centre at Hexham General Hospital has been closed between 10pm and 8am since 18 July for the intended period of four week.  However, Hexham’s chief operating officer (COO) for surgery, clinical support, and child health, Marion Dickson, claimed that the staffing issues which caused the initial suspension are the reason why overnight services will remain inoperative.
 
Dickson said the decision was taken “purely on safety grounds,” and to ensure that patients get access to a reliable and safe service.  Centres for emergency care in Wansbeck and Hexham were closed overnight for 11 months from November 2016 due to soaring levels of demand throughout the day.
 
“I know this decision will disappoint many in the area, we are too, but it just wouldn’t be safe to reopen at this point and compromising on patient safety is something which we will never do,” concluded Dickson.
 
The trust noted that it is working closely with Northumberland CCG to discuss the long-term arrangements for the overnight service at the urgent care centre, and will report back to residents as soon as there is further news.  Read more.

Closing date: 26th October
 
Integrated Care Providers is the new term for ‘Accountable Care Organisation’ and describes the proposed agencies that will be commissioned to deliver health and social care in a coordinated way for a ‘local’ population.
 
NHS England has launched a 12 week consultation on the contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers (ICPs).  The consultation provides more detail about how the proposed ICP Contract would underpin integration between services, how it differs from existing NHS contracts, and how ICPs fit into the broader commissioning system. 
 
The consultation document and supporting package of materials are available at: www.england.nhs.uk/new-business-models/publications/consultation-contracting-arrangements-for-icps/

Published in April 2018, this report has only recently come to our attention.  Conclusions from the report identify that HWBs are currently at a crossroads with two possible future scenarios ahead of them.  The first scenario involves HWBs being revisited and reconstituted to assume responsibility as the accountable organisation for the delivery of place-based population health in an area, with STPs/ACSs and CCGs being held accountable to boards.

An alternative scenario would see HWBs merely becoming, or continuing to be on the basis of the evidence from the study, talking shops which are effectively left to wither on the vine as STPs/ACSs effectively take over their role and function.  It is suggested this second scenario would be regrettable for a number of reasons - notably the following: HWBs enjoy member participation from the highest levels in partner organisations, they are the only body with a democratic accountability and the only body able to connect with, and respond to, local communities.

Closing date: 26th September
 
Whilst awaiting the government’s green paper on social care, which is now due in the autumn, the LGA has published its adult social care green paper for consultation.
 
“Escalating funding pressures and increasing demand are threatening services that improve lives and communities.  We cannot go on like this.  It is time to confront the hard choices and be honest about the options. This is our chance to put adult social care right at the very heart of the Government’s thinking.
 
“The consultation will run until 26 September. Your views will help build a vision for adult social care that supports people, communities, hospitals and our economy for decades to come.”

To take part, go to: futureofadultsocialcare.co.uk/