NORTH Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group has issued a further update on its current review of health and health-related care services for people in and around Alton.
Following two public consultation events, in January and March this year, which attracted more than 450 people and generated hundreds of comments about local services, while not yet able to produce any detailed plans of how services might change, the clinical commissioning group has gathered and analysed a vast amount of information about health and health-related care services and the issues which affect how those services are provided and how they are used.
Following the first event a number of themes emerged, among them a strong attachment to Alton Community Hospital as a local facility; concerns over the difficulties getting GP appointments, in particular with named doctors; and over lack of urgent care services available locally outside normal working hours.
There was strong support for the need to plan health and care services in a way which takes into account the growing population of the area, and the increasing number of older residents and people living with long-term health conditions, and a strong desire to see those services already provided in Alton protected and expanded, particularly outpatient clinics and diagnostic services such as X-rays and scans.
This was reinforced by the challenges faced when travelling to appointments outside Alton, such as to Basingstoke Hospital.
Many emphasised the importance of trying to get health and care services more ‘joined up’ so that they work better together – not just NHS services but also social care and services provided by voluntary and community organisations.
They advocated more support for patients to help them play a more active role in managing their own health, with the focus in particular on helping people to stay well and healthy, and on the importance of treating mental health and well-being as equal to physical health and wellbeing.
These themes have since been shared with health and care professionals at two service model workshops which took place in April, the aim being to work through the opportunities and challenges and to identify possibilities for new and better ways of providing care.
The workshops identified a number of areas where there were felt to be real opportunities for a joint approach for transforming services to better meet the needs of local patients and carers.
Service areas which are to be the focus of more work to explore the potential for enhancing what is already available include urgent care, mental health services, older people’s services, and maternity and children’s services.
For each of these services (and potentially others) there will be separate pieces of work done to consider how to improve or expand outpatient clinics, diagnostics such as scans and X-rays, and therapy and rehabilitation services, including inpatient services where appropriate.
While more definite plans have yet to be drawn up, a number of possible options have been identified which the clinical commissioning group believes are worth further consideration.
During June and early July these options will be developed in more detail, with outline costings and modelling work to give an indication of how many patients from Alton and the surrounding villages might use them.
A clinical commissioning group spokesman said: “The aim then will be to discuss these emerging proposals with patients, the public and health and care professionals from all our partner organisations in order to assess their feasibility and the benefits for local people.”
To see details of the review, including future public meetings, visit northhampshireccg.nhs.uk.