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Staffordshire - championing the cause

GPs in Staffordshire are forging ahead with commissioning plans. In South Staffordshire, the majority of practices have come together to create five main commissioning consortiums.

GPs in Staffordshire are forging ahead with commissioning plans. In South Staffordshire, the majority of practices have come together to create five main commissioning consortiums.



Schemes running in South Staffordshire include a Unique Care project, established by Seisdon PBC group, which aims to reduce the number of emergency hospital and long-term residential care admissions by identifying patients at risk through a self-assessment questionnaire.

The group is also developing a one-stop musculoskeletal proposal, which combines orthopaedic triage and community physiotherapy with a single point of access.

In North Staffordshire there are five PBC clusters covering a population of 211,000.

A major success has been introducing ‘doctor champions' for different clinical areas, such as stroke, diabetes, oncology and maternity, says Dr David Hughes, LMC chair for Staffordshire and chair of the Leek and Warrington PBC cluster.

PCT funding frees up these champions for typically two sessions a week to liaise with community services and hospitals to develop care pathways for patients.

Getting the necessary data from PCTs to set up services is a real problem for PBC groups, he says.

‘It's difficult to configure services if you haven't got accurate figures.'

Another concern is that PBC clusters are not being involved in public health procurement.

The good news, he says, is that PBC has got GPs from different practices to talk about issues that affect patients. ‘PBC has given us one powerful general practice voice that we've not had before.'

Staffordshire

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