Vision to improve health care in Liverpool

Checks on health

A radical blueprint to improve health and social care services in Liverpool produced by the Mayor’s Health Commission is being launched.

The Mayoral Health Commission, set up by Mayor Joe Anderson and chaired by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, the former President of the Royal College of Physicians, has been meeting for the past year and has taken evidence from 77 witnesses.

It has concluded that, despite many successes in improving public health, the challenges around poverty, health conditions, an over reliance on hospital care and cuts in funding means that a radical shift is required to tackle the issues.

It recommends reducing duplication of services or unnecessary competition, shifting more care out of hospitals and into the community, and reducing demand through both improved health and increasing personal responsibility for managing conditions.

It makes three over-arching recommendations:

· For key partners to formally sign up to the principle of creating an integrated health and social care system

· Services including GPs, hospitals, community health, specialist care, mental health and social care integrated into a unified out of hours service

· Making it a priority to improve the health of younger and older people, with an emphasis on prevention and managing conditions through self-care

A single unifying strategic plan would be created, bringing together the commissioning plans of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the city council, the Health and Wellbeing Board and NHS England (Merseyside).

Health and social care would be delivered in the community, with staff based locally rather than centrally through the development of a neighbourhood model. It would build upon the primary care (GPs) structure, and enable staff to get to know the locality and their patients.

The report also recommends having leadership based on research and shared information, with technology used to improve data sharing between organisations. It would mean patients’ details are passed seamlessly without people having to fill out endless forms if they transfer from one part of the care system to another.

Services would be restructured to improve the treatment and quality of care that patients receive, for example by clustering a specialism in one location rather than across the city.

To drive forward closer working and overcome barriers, organisations would be given support to help them ‘act as one’ through research based input from the North West Coast Academic Science Network.

The document also advocates creating the NHS workforce of the future by developing new qualifications in partnership with education institutions, staff with broader skills able to span both health and social care, and creating NHS cadetships.

Professor Gilmore said: “I am delighted to be able to present this timely report, which comes at a pivotal moment when all public services are having to look at new ways of working due to budget pressures.

“I believe the document has the potential to deliver better health and wellbeing for the people of Liverpool for decades to come.

“It will require some new partnerships and a fresh start for some existing ones, which is always a challenge, but with the new Royal Liverpool Hospital and bio science campus on the way, I firmly believe this is a once in a generation chance to seize the moment.

“If the city can mobilise the enthusiasm that the Commission has experienced while compiling its evidence, I am confident it can bring about practical change.”

Other plans include having a pupil to act as a ‘health champion’ in every secondary school to encourage healthy lifestyles

The document will be handed over to Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson at a specially convened conference of health and social care professionals in the city at the Town Hall.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We have a fantastic health and social care system in Liverpool with outstanding staff who are doing an absolutely amazing job every single day of the year.

“We are facing severe pressures on our funding and that means we have simply got to redouble our efforts to do things differently. But the real driving force behind this report was to look at ways we could improve services and work in a seamless way.

“We need to focus on services rather than buildings, and work more collaboratively where the driver is the care of patients, rather than who is responsible for delivering the care.

“It also needs to be responsive to the local population, because the health needs of people in Anfield are not the same as those living in Woolton.

“Liverpool has always been best when it has been bold, and in health we introduced the first public health officer in the country, pioneered washhouses and more recently led the way on a smoking ban in workplaces.

“This is another bold plan which has the potential to transform health and social care in the city.”

The findings will now be the subject of consultation with interested parties including health providers, organisations and stakeholders.

The city council and the Mayor will consider its contents, and a special panel – chaired by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore and former Liverpool PCT Chair Gideon Ben Tovim – will monitor the implementation of the findings.

LIVERPOOL’S HEALTH IN NUMBERS
• 465,000 residents
• 1 in 3 children living in poverty
• 1 in 3 people experiencing poor mental health
• 6th highest local authority for alcohol related admissions to hospital (2010-11)
• 14,000 residents in receipt of adult social care
• 2,500 cancer diagnoses per year – 20 percent above the national average
• Twice as many lung cancer cases as the national average
• 1,297 deaths from cancer (2011)
• Second largest reduction in premature death among big cities since 2001
• Smoking rates down from 35% in 2005 to 26% in 2011

You can read the report in full here.