Could GP ‘super-practices’ replace hospital services in BaNES?

A radical review of community health and care services in Bath and North East Somerset could see clusters of GP practices working together to offer more services in local communities.

The plans are part of the your care, your way review being carried out jointly by Bath & North East Somerset Council and the CCG. A public consultation on the plans was launched at the beginning of September but BaNES residents only have a few days left to have their say as the closing date of Friday 30 October is fast approaching.

Four different models for local health and care services are being put forward which could see the coordination of local services handed down to groups of GP practices or the Council’s Area Forums. Other proposals in the consultation include joining up IT systems between different health and care providers, providing “care navigators” to help people find their way around the system and a single pooled budget for health and social care.

Community health and care services provide support for people in their own home or a local setting. The Council and the CCG work together to plan and pay for over 400 different community services for local people which are provided by over 60 different organisations. This includes services like district nurses, health visitors and social care support in people’s homes.

The draft proposals have been developed following hundreds of conversations with patients, service users and carers as well as health and care professionals since January 2015.

Dr Ian Orpen, a local GP and Clinical Chair of the CCG, said:

“People are living longer and there are increasing numbers of patients with long term, complex conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Our community health and care services need to adapt to these challenges to ensure people can stay happy and healthy at home for as long as possible.

“The proposals we have developed with the Council are potentially ground-breaking. Our thinking has been heavily influenced by our engagement with the local community so far and we really want people to tell us what they think of the plans before the consultation ends.”

Cllr Vic Pritchard, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:

“The Council is committed to working closely with NHS colleagues and others to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents.

“We want to thank everyone who has got involved with the your care, your way review so far but we know there are still a lot of people in BaNES who haven’t shared their opinions with us.”

“We’re urging everyone to visit www.yourcareyourway.org to find out more about the review and complete the online survey by Friday 30 October. Alternatively, people can call 01225 396512 for more details.