Thanks to South Reading Patient Voice for this article which explains some of the changes to the NHS in our area. For more information or to get involved with Patient Voice please contact: Andrew.Price@berkshire.nhs.uk
"ALL CHANGE AND NO CHANGE IN SOUTH READING
Next year will see big changes in the way our National Health Service is run and local GPs are at the heart of these changes. The NHS will still be free at the point of use as it has been since it was brought in in 1948. You will still have the rights to treatment outlined in the NHS Constitution. But there will be a much more local focus to the way parts of the service are run.
In South Reading GPs from twenty GP practices have got together as the South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group. Together with hospital and nursing colleagues and some lay persons they will decide on the way money is spent on community and hospital medical treatment. It's a huge responsibility - the budget will be around 140 million pounds for about 123,000 patients - but they will have local support and a professional support organisation to help them do it. They also want to have your input and that is why they have encouraged the formation of South Reading Patient Voice, the patients' input to the commissioning of health services.
South Reading GPs will also be working closely together with similar groups of GPs in Newbury, North and West Reading and in Wokingham to coordinate their relationships with treatment suppliers like the Royal Berks Hospital and to share administrative costs and best practice. Together these four groups will have to take on most of the responsibilities of the Berkshire West Primary Care Trust which will disappear at the end of March 2013. The two Reading groups will be going forward for formal authorisation by the NHS over the summer.
Another change is that Reading Borough Council takes on responsibility for public health. Public health means preventing harm and improving health. So there will be an intense local focus and a lively conversation on health and environment, health inequalities and medical treatment.
The changes will put a spotlight on the integration between GP care, care in the community and hospital care. More treatment will be given out of hospital where that is possible. As new equipment and methods comes in, more conditions will be treatable out of hospital. Commissioning by thePCT has recognised inequalities and differences between areas, but now these will be subject to a greater local focus.
So if this is all decided right here in South Reading how can you get involved? And why should you? South Reading Patient Voice will be a forum for finding out about changes in treatment, about how our health is developing, about the changes that GPs are thinking of bringing in and outcomes that result. By getting involved you can bring about a health service that works better for people like yourself and for everybody else too.
And by the way, you don't need to worry about GPs commissioning themselves - they are not allowed to do that. GP services are commissioned by a National Commissioning Board which will also commission some rare and specialised treatments. But GPs will be able to move some medical tests and procedures into local surgeries for a more integrated local experience."