The countdown to a new way of managing health budgets begins today.
It is 100 days until Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) across the country take over from primary care trusts.
And leading the way is the Portsmouth CCG, which is one of 35 nationally that has been given the green light as an official body.
From April next year, Portsmouth CCG will have a budget of £238m to spend on healthcare in Portsmouth.
The group is made up of clinicians such as GPs, consultants and nurses, who will have a say over which services are commissioned.
This includes choosing whether they are from within the NHS or the private sector.
Portsmouth’s CCG is led by Dr Jim Hogan, who has been a GP for 25 years and works at the Lake Road Health Centre in Landport.
He says: ‘We had 119 red traffic lights that had to go green.
‘We are assessed by the NHS Commissioning Board and have five domains that we have to clear.
‘These range from patient participation to finance and to governance.
‘As a group we want to see the positive in the changes.
‘We have to see what’s happening as an opportunity, otherwise there is a danger that it becomes something that was imposed on us.
‘We’re seeing this as an opportunity to disentangle ourselves from the bureaucracy that we’ve previously experienced.
‘We’re keen to give it a go in Portsmouth and do the best we can.’
It is the Health and Social Care Act that has paved the way for CCGs.
It was introduced in January 2011 by the coalition government and is the biggest shake-up of the National Health Service in 60 years.
After facing fierce opposition and putting in a raft of amendments, the bill became an act this year.
It has caused concern that changes could lead to fragmentation and the eventual privatisation of the NHS over time.
‘We’re here to save the NHS, that is the biggest thing we want,’ says Dr Hogan.
‘We don’t want to see it go.
‘We are all local GPs that live in the area and have families here.
‘It is in our interest professionally and personally to have the best services available.
‘There are already private providers in the system.
‘The key thing is patients get the best in care.’
Every CCG has a chairman and a panel of doctors who will each take on an executive portfolio.
In Portsmouth the panel is made up of ﬁve GPs:
Dr Jim Hogan, of Lake Road Health Centre, Nutﬁeld Place, Landport, is chairman and leads on governance and unscheduled care.
Dr Elizabeth Fellows, of Milton Park Practice, Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, is vice-chairman and leads on performance.
Dr Dapo Alalade, of the University of Portsmouth practice, is the lead on quality and safeguarding.
Dr Tim Wilkinson, of Derby Road Park Practice, Copnor, is lead on ﬁnance and planned care.
The Portsmouth CCG held its first public meeting this week.
In it, the group outlined the areas it will focus on.
This includes supporting carers, reviewing attendances to A&E, continuing integrated care and improving mental health and dementia care.
The Fareham and Gosport CCG has six doctors.
The South Eastern Hampshire CCG, which covers the A3 corridor from Bordon down to Hayling Island, is also made up of six GPs. Both are part of wave two authorisation, and are working to be up-and-running officially by January..
A further team of doctors will be clinical leads for different aspects of healthcare, such as children and the elderly.
The Portsmouth CCG says it is also committed to working with its two neighbouring groups to ensure the ‘postcode lottery’ of healthcare is taken away.
Each GP will dedicate one or two days a week to CCG work, with the rest of their time spent in practice.
Up to £600 will be paid to the doctor’s practice for each day they carry out CCG work in order to pay for a locum doctor.
Dr Hogan says: ‘We have grown as a group and we all know the different roles we will play.
‘We have a good relationship with our sister CCGs – Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire.’
Dr Hogan says he also realises CCGs will be facing a challenge when it comes to handling health budgets.
‘We are facing a challenge,’ says Dr Hogan.
‘It’s difficult to be innovative at times when money is short, and a lot of the talk is about saving rather than spending.
‘But once again we want to see the opportunity in this.
‘There’s still a lot of potential in the NHS to change the way services are delivered.
‘We’ll be working with primary care and secondary care colleagues to provide the best service.
‘And we’re keen to listen to public opinion and feedback as much as possible.
‘We want to be open and visible.’
Healthwatch to take over from Link as patient forum group
THE idea behind Healthwatch is to give patients a stronger voice.
Currently Link groups across the country provide a forum for patients.
But along with primary care trusts, Link groups will cease to exist from the end of March.
From April next year Healthwatch will take its place.
Independent from local authorities and the NHS, it will provide a voice and information for patients.
Steve Taylor is a community engagement officer at Portsmouth City Council.
He is also the project lead for setting up Healthwatch.
He says: ‘The Portsmouth Link finishes at the end of March next year, and from April 1, Healthwatch will take over.
‘This will be a good change. It will act as a watchdog and have some power for decision-making.
‘It will give patients the chance to have independent advice and if they want to complain.
‘There will also be a Hampshire Healthwatch, and the two will work closely together. Nationally there is a Healthwatch England – something Link never had.
‘The whole idea is to give people more choice and have a say and even out healthcare in the country.’
The changes are being made as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Another change includes the formation of health and wellbeing boards, which bring together key leaders from the health and care system to work together and reduce inequalities.
‘One of the key differences is Healthwatch will have a seat on the health and wellbeing board,’ adds Steve.
‘It means it will have a say on big decisions on how money is spent in the city.
‘Healthwatch will also be independent of the NHS and the council.
‘This means it can challenge them both.
‘It will be made up of volunteers, and can also employ its own staff and handle its finances.
‘At the moment we are developing that and are currently out to tender about who will run Healthwatch so it is remaining independent.
‘We have got about 200 members signed up so far, but it’s also about getting feedback from the public.
‘We have drop-in sessions or stands where people can speak and give their view and opinions.’
An information event takes place on January 28, in Action Stations, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, from 10am to 1pm.
Fareham and Gosport
THE Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning group represents 21 practices and has a budget of £218m.
It is part of the wave two of authorisation, which will be looked at next month.
The panel is made up of:
Dr David Chilvers, of Waterside Medical Centre, Mumby Road, Gosport, chairman and lead on unscheduled care and mental health.
Dr Koyih Tan, of Stubbington Medical Practice, Park Lane, Stubbington, lead on strategy development and partnership working.
Dr Paul Howden, of Whiteley Surgery, Yew Tree Drive, Whiteley, lead on planned care and prescribing.
Dr Simon Larmer, of Portchester Health Centre, West Street, Portchester, lead on frail and elderly care, community and specialist nursing and quality and governance.
Dr Alan McFarlane, of Brook Lane Surgery, Brook Lane, Sarisbury Green, lead on practice, performance and development.
Dr Ian Bell, of The Lee-on-the-Solent Medical Practice, Manor Way, lead on clinical services, IT and near-patient testing.
THE South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group includes Hayling Island, Havant, Waterlooville and Petersfield.
It will be responsible meeting the healthcare needs of nearly 210,000 people and has a delegated budget of £180m to spend on health services.
The panel is made up of:
Dr Barbara Rushton, of Liphook and Liss Surgery, Station Road, Liphook, the lead on strategic development and unscheduled care.
Dr Andy Douglas, of The Grange Surgery, The Causeway, Petersﬁeld, the lead on planned care.
Dr Andrew Holden, of The Swan Surgery, Swan Street, Petersﬁeld, the lead on operational development and performance of 29 GP practices in the SEH CCG.
Dr Alastair Bateman, of Stakes Lodge Surgery, Lavender Road, Waterlooville, the lead on prescribing.
Dr Roddy Bowerman, of Waterlooville Health Centre, Dryden Close, Waterlooville, the the governance and quality lead.
Dr Jenny Allinson, of Horndean Practice, Blendworth Lane, Horndean, co-lead on unscheduled care and lead on mental health.