Health leaders to consider and set out new vision for health and care services in Weston-super-Mare and surrounding area

Date: 26 Sep 2017

Category: Updates

Health leaders in North Somerset are to consider and set out a new vision ‘Healthy Weston: joining up services for better care in the Weston area’ to improve health and care services in Weston-super-Mare, Worle, Winsombe and the surrounding villages of the south rurals at the clinical commissioning group’s monthly Governing Body meeting on 3 October 2017.

Building on public engagement work carried out earlier this year, this vision sets out a proposed way forward for organising and delivering health and care services as effectively and efficiently as possible. This is in response to the increasing demand and changing needs that come with an ageing and growing population, as well as the need to address challenges in attracting, recruiting and retaining specialist staff to run services, alongside significant financial pressures.

The vision describes an aim to organise and provide services across the local health and care system in a way that better meets the needs of local people, and ensures services meet national quality standards and are affordable within available funding for the long-term. It includes services provided by GP practices, community healthcare services, mental health, the voluntary sector, social care and services provided at Weston General Hospital and neighbouring hospitals.

It also places greater emphasis on organising and delivering services that help to keep people healthy and out of hospital, and when they do need care, providing a more seamless experience across the range of health and care services with a focus on being treated in the community and closer to home.

In order to start to tackle the unacceptable variation in health between different communities in our area we are focussing on three priority groups:

  • Frail and older people 
  • Children, young people and pregnant women (including those people with complex needs and young people’s mental health)
  • Vulnerable groups e.g. people with mental health needs, learning difficulties and those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Continuing to gather the views of staff, stakeholders, patients, carers and the public will be a vital part in helping to turn the vision into a reality. On the 18 October, health leaders will be setting out how they plan to do this through a comprehensive programme of conversations with staff and the public that will look at the options available and help to develop the choices that need to be made.

Dr Mary Backhouse, local GP and Clinical Chair at NHS North Somerset CCG said: “The vision document is a really exciting milestone in our work to transform health and care services in North Somerset and builds on the comments and feedback we received from local people earlier this year.

“Like many parts of the country we face significant challenges with an ageing and growing population and increased and changing demand for our services. We need to think differently about how we provide services, to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of local people not just now, but into the future.”

James Rimmer, Chief Executive of Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “We welcome this new vision document for health provision in Weston and North Somerset. We know that the best way to secure a strong and vibrant future for the hospital is to work in partnership with other areas of the NHS and adopt new innovative approaches to maximise what we can offer. We have lived through years of uncertainty and this new vision is the next step in the journey to build a strong future as an acute hospital.

“Colleagues at the Trust and the public are integral to shaping this vision for healthcare for Weston and North Somerset. We’ll need their ideas and input to develop NHS services that are designed to best suit patients’ needs and which offer clinical sustainability and value for money. We’ll be working closely with the CCG and use the great expertise of our teams at the Trust to develop and input into this programme of change.”

The key themes in the vision are:

Developing a new model of care for Weston

  • Looking at how the overall health and care system in North Somerset must change to provide a better balance of providing community services as well as hospital services, enabling more joined-up service provision and organisational working between services provided in the community and services provided in a hospital setting.
  • Creating the right environment and providing the right services to help people stay well and stay out of hospital.

Placing greater emphasis on primary care

  • Supporting GP practices to work more closely together, and more effectively with other organisations who provide health and care services by working in locality based ‘clusters’. This will enable them to offer patients access to a greater range of services and more integrated community services, as well as improved cover and the option for increased evening and weekend appointments. Working in this way also gives financial efficiencies through improved economies of scale.

Redefining the role of Weston General Hospital as a new ‘care campus’

  • Creating a new community focussed role for Weston General Hospital by putting it at the heart of the new model of care and developing it into a ‘care campus’ where integrated primary, community and acute hospital services will be provided in one place with greater involvement by GPs and their primary care teams.
  • This will require more collaboration between primary care, out-of-hours primary care, community services, mental health, the ambulance service, the local authority, and the voluntary sector working with each other, as well as working more collaboratively with the hospitals in our area. Examples of the types of services that could be provided are:
    • A frailty centre 7 days of the week providing proactive and reactive services to a clearly defined group of patients to keep them well and at home. If an individual is appropriately admitted to a hospital bed, the system will react quickly to pull them through the system and will provide excellent rehabilitation and support services to help them get home as soon as possible. 
    • A day unit providing services such as intravenous (IV) therapy in the community and blood transfusions in a more comfortable environment so patients don’t have to be admitted to hospital.
    • Rapid access to diagnostics to provide access to a range of diagnostic tests for those patients whose symptoms are non-specific, but are concerning, and who need a diagnosis so that a treatment plan can be put in place. The service could offer patients further investigation of symptoms they may have discussed with their GP through additional tests. These could include: imaging tests such as MRIs, CT scans and endoscopy. 
    • Acute mental health services supported by clinicians from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust’s Long Fox unit which is co-located at Weston General Hospital, this will help to better manage patients with both mental and physical health needs. Services could include in-patient or crisis teams, IAPT and community mental health.
    • Rapid access to social services to cope with patients attending with complex social issues requiring quick intervention to avoid admission to hospital. 
    • Local cancer services so more patients can be treated closer to home and don’t have to travel to Bristol for treatment.

Looking at how Weston General Hospital and neighbouring hospitals can work together to deliver the highest quality acute services in the future

  • The vision recognises that some of our current acute hospital services at Weston are struggling to meet national quality standards, particularly in relation to safe levels of staffing. There is a risk too they are not financially viable when costs of delivering the service are higher than the income they receive (particularly when they see a relatively low number of patients).
  • As a response to this we will look at how acute hospital services can best be delivered collaboratively with the hospitals in our area, and identify where some changes may need to be made to make sure we can consistently deliver high quality and safe sustainable services that are affordable within available funding.

The draft document can be viewed as part of the Governing Body papers that are published on the CCG’s website here.

Members of the public who would like to get involved in or be kept informed of our work are encouraged to email northsomerset.feedback@nhs.net.