Patients with conditions such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and sports injuries could see improvements to health services as part of plans revealed at a public meeting.
Three of the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex and Brighton and Hove, are planning to revamp musculoskeletal (MSK) services treat thousands of people each month for muscle and joint conditions.
Crawley CCG clinical director Dr Paul Vinson fielded questions from the public and explained how the new system would reduce waiting times for appointments, giving patients more choice over their treatment and where they receive it.
Dr Vinson said: “One of the most common issues raised by people during the consultation process was patients going to and fro between their GP and different experts.
“The new system is quite a bold step, but it’s needed to make the service much more cohesive.
“It’s imperative that the patient sees the right person, in the right place, the first time. This will not only save money but people in the community should see real improvements to their service.”
The new MSK service will form a ‘hub and spoke’ arrangement. GPs will initially refer patients into one of three specialist centres (hubs) covering rheumatology, podiatry, orthopaedics, psychology, pain management and physiotherapy services.
These centres will house additional diagnostic services such as X-rays and mobile MRI scanners. An assessment team will then build a package of care suited to each patient.
Facilities located in the heart of communities (spokes) will provide physio treatment, minor podiatry procedures and follow up appointments – for example after hip or knee surgery.
Key issues raised by the public which are incorporated into the future service outline include access to hubs by public transport, reduced waiting times for test results and parking facilities.
At the public meeting at the Charis Centre on September 23, Crawley resident Mike Morris said: “The MSK public engagement groups have been beneficial in many ways. It’s allowed the open discussion of patient concerns and expectations of the proposed change to services, but it has arguably equipped the Commissioners with increased knowledge and confidence to begin the procurement process.”
Resident Marilyn Williams said: “It sounds as though it will be a much faster service in that you will hopefully get referred for the right treatment straight away. I think it’s a positive move to speed up test results so that you actually know what needs to be done, quicker.”
Resident Stephen Tullett said: “Instead of the GP deciding to send you for physiotherapy you will have more choice about which treatment options are available. I think people will be better informed under this new system.”
The procurement process is set to begin mid-October 2013 with a contract being awarded in early 2014. Service implementation is expected mid-to-late 2014.
For more detail about the project, view the presentation given by Dr Paul Vinson click here.