Health chiefs have vowed to give stroke survivors a major say on the development of a new support service.
And they reassured patients that vital services would continue while the review was underway.
The pledges were made this week by the four clinical commissioning groups (CCGS) that have been responsible for the healthcare of Derbyshire people since April.
Since March 2010, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (DCHS) has been providing a countywide stroke service funded by a £400,000 Department of Health grant. The three-year contract was awarded to DCHS by Derbyshire County Council adult care in consultation with the former NHS Derby City and Derbyshire County Primary Care Trusts.
Services provided by DCHS have included:
Information and advice for survivors and carer
Training of care home staff
Signposting of survivors to social care and financial advice.
But the Department of Health’s fixed-term grant ended last month, meaning that the DCHS’s support service will stop in September.
Now, the Erewash, Hardwick, North Derbyshire and Southern Derbyshire CCGs are to join forces with the county council and voluntary sector partners to ask survivors what they would want from a new, integrated service that offers a single point of contact and is more efficient.
The rethink on stroke support is part of a wider review of community health services which aims to make it easier for people to access the healthcare they need.
A key aim of the review will be to stop duplication of effort by stroke support partners. For example, under the old system, doctors and nurses often handed out exactly the same literature as National Stroke Association volunteers.
Dr Avi Bhatia, Chair of NHS Erewash CCG, said:
“There’s absolutely no need for stroke survivors and their families to worry about this review. While it’s underway, the Stroke Association will continue to offer support while the existing stroke co-ordination service provided by DCHS will also carry on.
“The aim of the review is to ensure that the CCGs and county council work effectively with our voluntary sector partners to provide an integrated care package that meets patient need and is cost effective.”
His words were echoed by Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG:
“Rather than duplicate the existing stroke support service, we want to talk to patients to ensure that their needs are met fully by an improved, co-ordinated service delivered by health and social care professionals with their voluntary partners.
“The ending of the Department of Health contract and the advent of the community-based CCGs gives us a golden opportunity to look afresh at the way we work so we can improve stroke support while making efficiencies in economically-challenging conditions.”
Since last year, the support service has helped more than 1,000 survivors, referred mainly by the Royal Derby and Chesterfield Royal Hospitals. Only a small percentage of survivors have needed support after the first six months following referral.
The service is run countywide by four support workers plus an administrative post.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Erewash CCG represents 12 GP practices, acting on behalf of 96,000 patients in Ilkeston, Long Eaton and surrounding villages. They are one of four clinical commissioning groups in the county responsible for the healthcare of people in Derbyshire.
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is one of four clinical commissioning groups in the county responsible for the healthcare of people in Derbyshire.
Charles Malkin, Communications Officer
Tel: 01246 514971/07450 014496