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NHS Southwark CCG turns two in April

Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Chair of NHS Southwark CCG, reflects on two years of clinical commissioning in the borough

This month marks two years since family doctors and nurses took over responsibility for planning and paying for the majority of the health services you use in Southwark. All local GPs like me are members of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and we have been working hard since taking on this role to improve your healthcare.

It has to be said that it has not been easy. There is more demand on our local NHS than ever before. This demand is rising faster than the increases in money made available to us. So we have to be wise about the decisions we make and ensure they really count.

In Southwark we are incredibly lucky to have access to specialist hospitals that have an international reputation for the cutting edge treatments they offer. However, we also know that too many people living in Southwark experience poor health and are living with long-term conditions that are preventable. Others end up in hospital when they would rather be at home receiving care they feel confident in. So things have to change. Care needs to become more joined up, people need to feel supported to look after their own health better, and we need to focus on preventing people getting ill in the first place. We cannot do this alone – it is going to require all of us to work together if we are really going to make a difference.

I am pleased to say that we have made good progress since the CCG was formed. In the last year we’ve been working hard to make it easier for you to see a GP or nurse when you need to. Local GP practices are working together to deliver more appointments, including in the evening and at weekends. We have also worked closely with health organisations across south east London to think about how we might improve existing health services so that everyone in south east London, no matter where they live, has access to consistently high quality care. There is also now a team of specialists who are dedicated to helping people get discharged from hospital earlier, and avoid them having to go there in the first place. They mostly support older people at home so they can get fast access to nursing, therapy and social work support meaning they don’t have to go through the stress of an unnecessary stay in hospital.

If you live in Dulwich, you may have heard about our plans to develop a brand new health centre. This will be a completely new building in the south east corner of the current Dulwich hospital site. It’s the outcome of many months of talking to local people about the health services they want and need. It’s exciting to be creating a modern centre that will really make a difference to local people.

Our ambitions don’t stop there though. Looking to the future, we want to continue to work with our hospitals, community teams, patients and all Southwark residents to deliver the best care possible so that people live longer, healthier, happy lives.

A big part of our future plan is to join up the health and social care system. Whether you need support to stay healthy, manage a long-term condition like diabetes, are experiencing  mental health problems, need more help to stay independent at home, or better access to care close by in the community – we want to make your experience straight forward and for you to feel in control of your health. Changes like these don’t happen overnight, but we are committed to making them a reality over time.

The voices of local people are at the heart of our work. We can’t develop the services you need without your input. So if you’re passionate about the health of you and your family, why not get involved in our work? Call us on 020 7525 7888 to find out more.

Let’s work together for a healthier Southwark.