Suffolk: GPs leading the way vowing to create a better local health service

Dr Imran Qureshi, member of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Imran Qureshi, member of the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group - Credit: Archant

GPs have today pledged to create a better local health service in Suffolk as they are handed new powers under a radical Government reform of the NHS.

Today marks the beginning of a new era for the health service–– one led by GPs and clinicians.

The county’s primary care trust, NHS Suffolk has been abolished.

In its place two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are at the forefront of primary healthcare in Suffolk – the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and West Suffolk CCG.

Speaking to The Star, Dr Imran Qureshi, a GP and member of IESCCG, said since last April GPs have been in charge, shadowing NHS Suffolk in preparation for standing on their own two feet.

He said: “What we have done as a shadow organisation is run in the offices of NHS Suffolk with full responsibilities. It has been a great year, a good trial run.”

And the Ravenswood GP added “”the IESCCG is a bit unique”.

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As with every CCG established across the country there are seven elected GPs making up the governing body, led by chairman Dr Mark Shenton.

There is a secondary care doctor, chief nursing officer, two lay members as well as administrative officers, including chief operating officer Julian Herbert, the former chief executive of NHS Suffolk.

In addition IESCCG has recruited another group of GPs to make up a clinical executive, described by Dr Quershi as “an engine room of innovation”.

Recruiting another layer of doctors with a range of skills, interests and backgrounds, will Dr Quershi said “bolster” the CCG, giving it more experience to draw on in a bid to make the best decisions for patients.

The crux of the IESCCG’s vision is set out by their eight key priorities:

– To ensure high quality local services

– To improve the health of those most in need

– To improve access to mental health

– To promote self care

– To improve health and educational attainment for children and young people

– To improve outcomes for patients with diabetes to above national averages

– To improve care for frail elderly individuals

– To allow patients to die with dignity and compassion and choose their place of death

Dr Quershi added: “These changes to the NHS really want to embed real clinical leadership of the health system.

“In the past there has been a token gesture of clinical involvement but this is the first time doctors and nurses have been at the forefront.

“Our hope is that the patients in Ipswich and east Suffolk see a better health service.

“Our goal is always to be better.

“For us as GPs we get a really unique insight into a patient’s journey through the NHS.

“From their appointments with us to their feedback about hospital care and care in the community for example at follow ups we get to see all the bits of the system through a patient’s eyes.

“In the past we have always struggled to get these voices heard.

“Now we can champion the voices of patients.

“If you go and see your GP tomorrow with a problem, he or she will very easily be able to do something about it – that is how it should be.

“We do recognise we have inherited a good system from NHS Suffolk. And they helped us, they allowed us to grow and mature with their support over the last year which has really helped make a difference.

“Our vision is to really get on with getting health services right.

“Most of us are living and breathing in this health system, our children go to the local schools and hospitals.

“As GPs, like other clinicians, we are not necessarily afraid to challenge issues. We are here to make it right for patients and that is our absolute priority.”