Patients in East Lancashire can expect to see local health services dramatically improve within the next couple of years, a new CCG head has predicted.
Dr Mike Ions (pictured), who was recently elected to lead the new NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, wants to improve services for residents but warned there was no quick fix.
Dr Ions admitted that patients won’t “notice a difference at first” but said “over two or three years we hope there will be a big improvement”.
As part of the measures to the quality of care residents receive, the CCG will commission health services closer to their homes under new powers included in the Health and Social Care Act.
“We want fewer people travelling outside the area or to large district hospitals,” said Dr Ions.
“To achieve this, for example, the CCG is now working with the hospital trust to develop tele-healthcare, where patients with respiratory problems can do their own routine health diagnostic tests at home and send the results to the hospital via telephone or secure internet.
“GPs are much more in tune with patients’ wishes and are better at getting general feedback – PCTs can seem very remote.”
The Government’s controversial reforms to the NHS have been widely criticised. However, Dr Ions said attitudes in the region have been far more positive.
“All 65 surgeries in East Lancashire have signed up to become members of the CCG and the doctors I speak to are embracing the change,” he said.
“We want to be responsive to the individual needs of the patient, and there will be differences in services in areas depending on the population’s need, though the delivery of core services will be the same nationally.”
NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group will be one of the largest commissioning bodies across England – serving 370,000 patients. It will have a budget of around £450m each year.