Governing health bodies for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have agreed to begin public consultation into the future of community based local health services.
Health bosses decided to back the decision to go forward by involving local people in considering the options for the future.
This means a public consultation will begin on Monday December 10, and will last for a total of 14 weeks which includes a two week extension to allow for the festive holidays. The consultation will end on Sunday March 17.
The meeting was held in public at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, with over 100 people in attendance.
The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG's) that oversee health delivery in the region have been working with local clinicians, health partners, local authorities, voluntary organisations, politicians and the public to look at how local health services could be delivered differently to meet local needs against the backdrop of significant challenges.
Over the last few years, the CCGs have been involving local people in developing the options for change which have been through a rigorous assurance process and incorporates the recommendations made by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.
The CCGs developed the proposals that sets out what they believe to be a viable and sustainable model of care for the people of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, and the options for change which they wish to test and consult upon. Over 500 people have taken part in the pre-consultation phase.
The CCGs’ Accountable Officer, Marcus Warnes said: “Deciding to move to formal consultation is a significant decision. This is an important step toward delivering the right services in the right place which place patients at the centre of service delivery.”
Dr Steve Fawcett, the CCGs’ Medical Director said: “Local clinicians have absolutely been at the heart of developing the business case. We now want as many people as possible to take part in the public consultation which will be a full, open and honest dialogue with the patients we serve.”
At the meeting members of the Governing Bodies answered questions from the public which included concerns about the workforce who provide community based care; hospital readmission rates; safeguarding of elderly patients; openness of the consultation; use of NHS beds in care homes; the needs of rural communities and the level of support that could be provided at home.