Nicola Airey, Director of Planning & Delivery,gave a presentation in respect of the Clinical Commissioning Group’s priorities in the next six months and their response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the health recovery which would follow.
NHS Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was made up of the seven GP practices (10 surgeries) in Surrey Heath and Ash Vale and spent around £114m on community and hospital care for around 95,000 people registered at these surgeries.
The CCG's vision was to improve the health of local people by commissioning hospital and community health care to meet the needs of the population, and to ensure that local health services are high quality, value for money and meet the needs of the population.
Since last presenting to the Committee, a number of key issues had significant impacts on the CCGs work:
· The CCG were a key stakeholder in assuring a successful recovery and restoration to Health Care within Surrey Heath.
· There was significant planning being undertaken in respect of a scenario where winter pressures were to put substantial burdens on NHS Services. The plans included the provision of an innovative drive through flu clinic in order to safely administer the flu vaccination for Surrey Heath.
· The creation of a new ‘Community Deal’, which sought to assess and improve the ways in which local NHS services had conversations with different communities,
· The need for EU Exit Planning.
· A planned organisational restructure.
In a wider focus, the CCG were still aiming to concentrate on early intervention rather than integrated care which had been the organisation’s main focus since its inception. In addition there was a continued emphasis on ‘Early Help’, which took the form of resources being directed towards new CAMHS services and greater partnerships between Mental Health services and schools.
The following priorities for the CCG over the next six months were outlined:
- The strengthening of Mental Health services including partnership working tying in with the prioritisation of early intervention and reflecting an anticipated greater demand due to COVID-19.
- Further development of the integrated care journey for older people for the next level, ensuring that when older residents go into supported accommodation they do with a joined up package with health partners.
- Identifying how they tackle inequalities within society in Surrey Heath and ensuring that delivered care that is equitable and does not vary in quality of delivery or outcomes because of personal characteristics. It was acknowledged that deprivation, learning disabilities, and difficulties in accessing services led to poorer health outcomes.
The Covid-19 Pandemic had changed forever how the NHS engages with its residents. In it most obvious sense this included a huge increase in the amount of telephone and online appointments and consultations. In addition General practice was now back to the same levels of consultations pre-pandemic and although many more of these had been video and text consultations, feedback suggested that this hadn’t taken away from appointments’ effectiveness.
There was a conscious effort to ramp up vaccination efforts ahead of flu season which included the provision of holding a drive through clinic at Blackbushe Airport, Camberley. The clinic opened on 21 September and was designed to ensure safe delivery of the flu vaccination.
Arising from Members’ questions and comments the following points were noted:
- Surrey Heath CCG followed the Mental Health Investment Standard which required CCGs to increase investment in Mental Health services in line with their overall increase in allocation each year. There was also a reconfiguration of Mental Health services to reflect the new lines of communication given the Covid-19 pandemic, including an increase in 24/7 crisis call lines. In addition the CCG had agreed to give additional resource and support to the Citizens Advice Bureau in respect of clients’ access to Mental Health Services.
- Not all of Surrey Heath is covered by Surrey Heath CCG or the partnering CCGs that Surrey CCG regularly liaised with through the Integrated Commissioning Fund (ICF). Whilst Frimley Health Trust had announced the release of a new Electronic Patient Record (EPR), this meant it would be soon working off a different system from St Peters Hospital and the Royal Surrey Hospital which many of the Borough’s eastern residents also regularly used. The new EPR will allow for the transfer of the Connected Care Record across the Surrey Heath CCG’s social care, community and acute trust services. However it was unknown how well Surrey Heath CCG’s new EPR will be able to connect with other acute trusts.
- There was an acknowledged overload on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS); whose demand had increased due to the social distancing measures. Surrey Heath CCG was aiming to create greater capacity in the CAMHS system by commissioning and investing in services relating to the early intervention of behaviours including behavioural support for 4, 5 and 6 year olds.
- The Council’s planning department were good at informing the CCG in respect of new developments which would increase demand on Surrey Heath’s NHS services. A frequent casework comment received by Members was that the local infrastructure was inadequate to absorb future demand from new developments. This was exacerbated by a perceived poor use of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds.
- Waiting times at GP Practises within the CCG area were better than the national average. In addition the recent rise in online consultations had reduced waiting times for groups of people and GP waiting times had actually eased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- It was noted there were additional opportunities for partnership working with the Borough Council, including to feeding to the Equality Working Group’s work in respect of ethnicity and access to services.
The Committee thanked Nicola Airey for her informative presentation.