Milton Keynes health bosses admit services are falling behind rest of the country

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Health bosses in Milton Keynes have called for urgent changes to local services to avoid being left behind the rest of the country.

Clinical commissioners in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes say they want more collaboration across hospitals, community and GP services and they want a health system that focuses on results rather than the number of patients treated.

They say healthcare across the region is already being left behind with local people unable to access best practice, innovative care that is available elsewhere in the country. And further delaying change will lead to an increasingly indebted local health service that is unable to invest in future care.

These are the conclusions of – A case for change – the midway report from the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Healthcare Review. The review covers all NHS-funded healthcare in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes across four key areas: planned care, urgent care, long-term conditions and children and maternity care.

It is being led by Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (MKCCG) with support from three national agencies: NHS England, Monitor and the Trust Development Authority.

A case for change sets out in detail the challenges facing the NHS in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. These include increased demand from a growing and ageing population, major staff shortages and a rising deficit, all of which threaten the quality and safety of patient care.

This year Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes health services – that is both CCGs, Milton Keynes Hospital and Bedford Hospital – have a combined deficit of £21m. If nothing changes then by 2018/19 this will rise to around £100m.

But the report also highlights opportunities to transform local health services, such as:

* investing more in preventing ill health and patient education to enable people who are ill to do more for themselves

* learning from good practice elsewhere both in the UK and abroad 

* working more closely with council-funded social services

* linking payment for healthcare to benefits for patients rather than the current system which pays for the number of treatments or patients seen.

Both Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire CCGs are using the data contained within A case for change – alongside an extensive engagement programme to gather the views of patients and clinicians – to develop detailed models for healthcare in their CCG areas. A final report will set out these models which both CCGs will use to consult with their local populations in the autumn.

Dr Nicola Smith Milton Keynes GP and Chair at NHS Milton Keynes CCG said: “Patients are at the heart of this review. Ensuring we can maintain high quality services that fit the needs of our local population is our highest priority. So far we have learned, among other things, that our healthcare services are not sufficiently joined up – too often co-ordinating treatment between GPs, community care, hospitals and social care is difficult. We will continue to seek out and listen to the views of our patients and clinicians throughout the rest of this review and beyond to hear from them what they think it will take to make our health services fit for purpose as we move further into an ever more challenging period for the NHS.”