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By Ian Dipple Wednesday 03 April 2013 Updated: 03/04 19:34
REDUCING emergency admissions at the Alexandra Hospital will be one of the key challenges facing doctors in Redditch and Bromsgrove following them taking responsibility for buying in health services for the two towns.
Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group took control of the £182million local NHS budget on Monday (April 1) as part of government reforms and will buy and arrange hospital, community and mental health services.
The group represents 22 GP practices in the area and serves a 170,000 patients. The CCG has been operating in the background for the last 18 months but has taken over the vast majority of responsibilities of NHS Worcestershire along with other groups in South Worcestershire and Wyre Forest.
Among the group's key priorities will be to reduce the number of people admitted to hospital through A&E, with demand currently running over seven per cent higher than the same time last year. Last week the Standard reported how bosses at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust were forced to declare a major incident status at both of the county's main hospitals as they were full up due to a surge in emergency admissions.
Schemes being put in place include the virtual ward, which aims to manage people's conditions in the community before they get to the point of needing to be admitted to hospital, and allowing GPs to travel in the back of ambulances to treat more people at the scene.
Reducing heart attacks, strokes and teenage pregnancies, tackling health inequalities across Redditch and Bromsgrove and securing a range of community services are also part of the CCG's plan.
They will also be responsible for making the final decision with regards the future of services at the Alexandra Hospital.
Dr Jonathan Wells, a Redditch GP, chair and clinical lead for Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: "I’m delighted to reach this point where we are now responsible for commissioning local health services. There will be challenges and difficult decisions ahead for the CCG, but we will remain focused on ensuring that we commission good quality and effective services that achieve our vision of better health for the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove.
"We have been busy engaging with our local community, our providers of healthcare, local voluntary sector organisations and patient groups in the district to start shaping services that are fit for the future and we look forward to continuing this work as we assume control of NHS spending on hospital, community and mental health services."
Kevin Dicks, chief executive of Redditch Borough and Bromsgrove District Councils which will work with the CCG to tackle health issues in the towns, said: " I believe it is great news for the people of Redditch and Bromsgrove that the CCG is led by local GPs who will look to ensure local needs are satisfied rather than the traditional one size fits all approach that seems to have been adopted across Worcestershire for the last few years."
For more information on the CCG or to give feedback on people's experience of NHS services visit www.redditchandbromsgroveccg.nhs.uk or follow them on Twitter at @RBCCG_Chair.
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