Action is needed now on health care says report

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A hard-hitting report on the future of health services in Bedfordshire says action needs to be taken now.

A report of services in the county, the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review, found major staff shortages and an ageing population was putting a huge strain on the quality and safety of the services.

The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG), which covers Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard, and its Milton Keynes counterpart have called for urgent changes to local health services. They want more collaboration across hospitals, community and GP services and they want a health system that focuses on results rather than the number of patients treated.

The review covers all NHS-funded healthcare in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes across four key areas: planned care, urgent care, long-term conditions and children and maternity care.

The groups say healthcare across Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes is already being left behind with local people unable to access best practice, innovative care that is available elsewhere in the country. Further delaying change will lead to an increasingly indebted local health service that is unable to invest in future care.

A Case For Change sets out in detail the challenges facing the NHS in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. This year Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes health services – that is both CCGs, Milton Keynes Hospital and Bedford Hospital – have a combined deficit of £21m. If nothing changes then by 2018/19 this will rise to around £100m.

But the report also highlights opportunities to transform local health services, such as: investing more in preventing ill health and patient education to enable people who are ill to do more for themselves

>learning from good practice elsewhere both in the UK and abroad

>working more closely with council-funded social services

>linking payment for healthcare to benefits for patients rather than the current system which pays for the number of treatments or patients seen.

The CCGs are using the data contained within the review – alongside an extensive engagement programme to gather the views of patients and clinicians – to develop detailed models for healthcare in their CCG areas.