More details revealed on ambitious healthcare plan for the region
PUBLISHED: 09:26 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 28 September 2017
More flesh has been put on the bones of the plan to overhaul the region’s healthcare services.
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Norfolk and Waveney aims to save £300m by 2021.
It is one of 44 nationally and provides a backstop for efficiency savings and newer ways of delivering care.
Now, more details on the five main areas the plan will look at have been revealed, ahead of the release of a full delivery plan in coming weeks.
Mental health, cancer, maternity services, prevention, primary and community care, and urgent and emergency care are all areas the scheme looks at in detail, in a bid to save money.
Some new aspects are due to be completed as early as the end of this month, such as finding suitable premises for a step down service - for patients discharged from hospital but not quite ready to care for themselves at home.
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Others should be in place by March 2018, such as recruiting extra staff to support those with mental ill health in A&E or creating crisis hubs.
By 2019, a redesign of mental health services for children and young people is due.
In cancer, health bosses want to ensure all national waiting time standards are being met, and increase public awareness of risk factors and symptoms.
There will also be a focus on screening for bowel, cervical, and lung cancer.
The aim is to confirm or rule out a cancer diagnosis within 28 days. And for those who survive the disease, to ensure they are looked after during recovery.
More than £225,000 has been allocated over the next two years to improve births.
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This includes reducing the numbers of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and also cutting the number of women who smoke whilst pregnant.
Primary, prevention, and community care
Primary care – that is mainly GPs but also but community pharmacists, opticians and dentists – have a bulked up role in latest plans, with a “stronger emphasis on primary care”.
By March 2019, chiefs hope everyone will be able to access evening and weekends appointments.
And the number of people who do not attend their appointments will be lowered, it is planned.
People with long term conditions such as diabetes, respiratory conditions and cancer may face new care plans.
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Plus doctors will be able to use social prescribing, which instead of a clinical response could see patients referred to activities such as volunteering, arts activities, healthy eating advice or sports.
For those with alcohol or weight management issues, services are set to expand.
Urgent and emergency care
The region’s three hospitals look to work closer together on A&E targets.
And for those who do not need emergency care, the NHS 111 service is due to be available online in all areas by the end of December 2017.
Sites will also be identified for urgent treatment centres and a seven-day service across GP surgeries is also set to be implemented.
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The plans were revealed at Norfolk County Council’s health and wellbeing board yesterday (Wednesday).
Bill Borrett, chairman of the board said: “The Health and Wellbeing Board is held in public which means that anyone is able to observe the meeting, it provides a key opportunity for the public to find out what is going on in health and social care.
“The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is a partnership approach across all the different bodies delivering health which is going to drive the way that health and social care are delivered for the future and it’s important that residents of Norfolk know what is happening in their communities.”