HEALTH MATTERS: Local changes to NHS are positive for area, says Derbyshire doctor

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This is an exciting time for the local NHS with GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) now responsible for planning and buying health services for their communities. I believe that patients should be excited too because these changes mean they can have a greater say in shaping local health services.

GPs are better placed to understand what services their patients need, and our CCG brings the local NHS closer to patients than ever before with every GP practice involved in developing local health services.

The CCG’s role is to ensure that local GPs work together to improve the health of people in our locality and that we listen to and act upon feedback from our patients and the public.

This is the first time that health plans have been put into place at a local level by GPs and clinicians who know their patients better than anyone.

Health care will now be much more locally focused than it ever has been before.

We want our patients to have a much greater say in their healthcare and there are a number of ways that they can do that. Most of our GP practices now have a patient participation group which allows patients to work with the practice to ensure services are meeting the needs of local patients.

If you are interested in becoming involved in your local GP practice patient group then please talk to your practice manager in the first instance.

Our Patient Participation Group at Limes Medical Centre usually meets monthly at 6.30pm one weekday evening to discuss patient needs and practice issues.

We are accepting more patient participants so if you would like to join the group, please email jackieblackburn@nhs.net or call her on 01773 833133.

Alternatively, patients can express an interest by leaving their email address and telephone number with the receptionist next time they visit the surgery.

Both waiting rooms display posters explaining more about the PPG.

NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG also has a health panel where people with an interest in local health issues can register to become a member. The CCG sends health panel members regular updates and holds meetings throughout the year to update on the work of the CCG – providing an opportunity for members to work with the CCG on developing and shaping local services.

Anyone interested in joining the NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG health panel should call 01332 868677or email enquiries@southernderbyshireccg.nhs.uk.

In addition, there are public question times at our regular CCG board meetings.

So do please come and join us as we seek to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Southern Derbyshire.

With major changes taking place across the health service and continued cuts in health service budgets, this is an important opportunity and possibly the first time patients and carers can use their voice to influence the new GP-led clinical commissioning of health services locally.