Conference launches a healthcare revolution

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A REVOLUTION in healthcare has been promised by the group commissioning services for West Suffolk doctors.

The West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group will handle the changes brought about by the Government’s revamp of the NHS, which puts the commissioning of services in the hands of doctors. The group represents 25 practices from Woolpit to Haverhill and Newmarket and covers most of the West Suffolk Hospital catchment area.

It held its first ‘stakeholder conference’ at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday, presenting proposals to more than 250 representatives of patient groups, voluntary bodies, councillors, doctors and health service providers.

Before the conference, Jo Finn, the group’s lay member for patient and public engagement, said: “We don’t know what is going to change because we’re going to ask people what changes they want. We’ve got some ideas, which is what we’re putting to people today.”

She said the greater involvement of doctors and patients would improve healthcare.

“This makes it more responsive on a local basis,” she said.

“Health services have been commissioned over Suffolk as a whole, based in Ipswich. So many services have been based in Ipswich that the needs of the hinterland have not been recognised.”

Dr Christopher Browning, the group’s chairman, added: “When looking at Suffolk from Haverhill, which is a long way away, their access has been a little limited.”

He said the changes were a revolution for the health service and for doctors who had never had so much involvement in service provision.

He also hoped greater links between practices and other healthcare providers would bring better use of best practise.

“I hope we can take all the best ideas and use them to do the best.”

Dr Ed Garatt, chief operating officer, said that among the main aims of the group were to improve education for clinicians and to work better with local authorities to improve public health.

The group is currently working ‘in shadow’ with Suffolk Primary Care Trust and will legally take responsibility in April. For further information call 01473 770014 or