Hub plan is considered to give patients improved health care

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People suffering from debilitating muscle and joint conditions could get access to improved care in Crawley if plans to redesign musculoskeletal services go ahead.

The Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking into plans for services. It may create a ‘hub’ for patients suffering from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis where they can get initial diagnosis services and some treatments such as physiotherapy closer to home.

It said if this were created, specialist services would be offered at a bigger hub and it would ensure good public transport links and parking facilities. The idea was discussed at a meeting of the Crawley CCG which took place at Broadfield Stadium. The meeting was held to discuss the needs of patients in the town and help patients shape the future of care in Crawley.

Patients raised concerns about ‘getting lost’ in the NHS system and being sent to numerous clinics before they are treated with painful waits in between. The CCG said it wanted a ‘one stop shop’ where services could be brought together instead of patients being referred to numerous places.

Dr Karen Eastman, clinical director of the Crawey CCG said: “Not everything can be done locally, but many things can, and our vision for future musculoskeletal services may well look like a hub and spoke arrangement. Getting all this right will not all be easy - tight public finances mean there simply isn’t the money to do everything, but by involving patients and carers in redesigning our NHS locally, there is more of a chance we will see the things that are not working and where we can spend the money we have more efficiently.”

The meeting brought together findings from four earlier public events and focused on orthopaedics, rheumatology, pain management, podiatry and physiotherapy. Patients also said they wanted a named specialist team which was available to contact if a condition flared up and they wanted information about the pros and cons of treatments available so they could make informed decisions.

A further public event on the redesign of musculoskeletal services will be held in September.