LETTER: Patient voices at heart of new NHS

Following from the County Times Comment piece published last week - Patients voices must be heard - we would like to echo our wholehearted agreement with the sentiments of two-way engagement, as well as the call for ‘patients to make loud and clear what it is that they expect from their local health services’. Patient voices are at the very heart of the new NHS.

The clinical commissioning groups in both Horsham and Mid Sussex and in Crawley have a unique benefit of being led by a group of determined and passionate GPs, supported by the membership of 33 GP Practices. And while decisions can be medically-led, the new system also gives patients the responsibility to feed in their experiences and needs to shape the future of health care in our communities.

The Health and Wellbeing, Estates and Infrastructure Plan currently being developed by an external consultant for the CCG is due to be completed by the summer. After this, the work will be presented to the public and together we can take forward the local NHS. This budding combination of clinical expertise and patient experience is what will ensure health and social care services are designed around the needs of the individual and the communities in which they live.

Last week’s comment piece in the WSCT also mentioned the 20-year campaign for a new acute hospital in North Horsham. We have been open and honest with the public in conversations like this so that we can define local health care priorities together. However, NHS care must change as recent national pressures on A&E departments have demonstrated. Modern healthcare and treatments are delivered very differently from even 10 years ago. A new acute A&E type hospital in the Horsham area would not help deliver the services we need for our increasingly elderly population. Instead the CCG strongly believes the way forward is a more proactive and holistic community approach, ensuring people have the support and care they need wrapped around them in a single health and social care bundle within their homes or close by. We want to prevent patients from getting to the stage where they need to be admitted to hospital as an inpatient, as I am sure patients and their families and carers do.

As we had attempted to clarify in the page three story - Difficult Choices due on minor Injuries Unit – the CCG has committed to the annual budget for Horsham Hospital as it stands. Any debate regarding extending the number of hours for which the service is open, which will cost more, must also ask - what will we not spend on? That is a genuine question for us to answer together.

Our GPs face patients every day and know that care for the frail elderly and those with long term conditions need particular focus in the light of our ageing population and the increasing complexity of needs.

In order to ensure patient’s voices are heard, we are looking to you to help us define the best way to achieve engagement. How do you want to work with us? Is it more events such as the launches we hosted at the Pavilions in the Park, Clair Hall and East Court Mansions back in April? Or would you prefer to link with us via GP Surgery Patient Participation Groups or meetings in the practices? Get in touch on 01293 600300 ext 4255, email HSCCG.Contactus-horshamandmidsussexccg@nhs.net or visit us on Facebook.

Dr Simon Dean

Horsham Locality chair NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group / Horsham GP