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Go-ahead for health improvements in West Kent

User AvatarPosted by at 30/04/2013 10:57:29
Improvements to services for people who have heart disease, care home residents reaching the end of their lives, and adopted children have been given the go-ahead by NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group.

At its meeting on 23 April, the governing body of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which plans and pays for most health services for people living in the boroughs of Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Malling and Maidstone, and the southern part of Sevenoaks district, also approved the integrated commissioning plan.

This sets out the CCG’s priorities and everything it intends to do to improve hospital, mental health and community services by 31 March 2015.

The governing body approved a new rehabilitation service for people who have cardiac disease. The new service will be based in the community and will aim to increase the number of people having cardiac rehabilitation, which helps people exercise, eat well, and continue with their everyday lives.

Dr Sanjay Singh, Chief GP Commissioner for NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Reducing cardiovascular mortality is a key ambition for the CCG and contributes to reducing health inequality and increasing lifespan.

“The current service has a poor uptake, with almost two-thirds of people not taking part. It is proposed to reduce this by half, with provision of a community-based service. This should have a qualitative impact on patients with cardiac disorders and also lead to a reduction in A&E attendances and hospital admissions.”

The governing body also approved funding for a project to support more care homes in improving the care they give to residents who are at the end of life.

Dr Tony Jones led an earlier care home project which focused on helping staff to detect infectious disease early so it could be treated before residents deteriorated and needed hospital treatment.

The result of this, combined with talks from the Heart of Kent hospice on end of life care, was that in the six homes initially targeted, the number of deaths of residents in hospital dropped from 57 per cent to six per cent.

This meant that many more people had a peaceful death in familiar surroundings, rather than spending their last days and hours in hospital. It also saved NHS money which was then reinvested in health services.

Dr Jones told the CCG meeting: “We have some unspent money from the residential home programme, and we like to extend the programme to more homes. It would pay for education sessions with care home staff, helping staff to understand when it is and isn’t appropriate to ring 999. This can help to avoid hospital admissions at the end of life.”

The CCG also approved more funding for health assessments for adopted children. The members of the governing body – who are mostly GPs, and also include an independent nurse and hospital consultant, two lay members, and two senior health managers – also agreed to support the Kent Health and Wellbeing Strategy. This sets out the priorities agreed by the Kent Health and Wellbeing Board, which brings together the different organisations involved in commissioning health and social care services in Kent.

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