ILKESTON residents were told this week that plans to put Erewash GPs in charge of millions of pounds of NHS cash from 2013 will involve discussions with borough patients every step of the way.
Under Government changes to the health service, Derbyshire Primary Care Trust – the body currently in charge of health services in Erewash and the rest of the county – will be axed and replaced with smaller, more local, groups made up of GPs.
Dr Avi Bhatia, GP at Moir Medical Centre in Long Eaton, chairs NHS Erewash, a group of 13 GPs – one from every doctors’ surgery in Ilkeston, Long Eaton and the surrounding area – which is one of a handful of groups across the country chosen to pilot the new scheme.
Dr Bhatia explained to residents at the Arena in Rutland Street on Thursday: “The idea is that we can effect more changes locally and have more input into services people need locally.
“It’s a work in progress.”
Addressing patients’ concerns about funding, he said: “There’s no less money coming into the NHS but there is an increased demand of services too.
“There’s a net loss so we need to work more efficiently to still be able to offer services that are as excellent as they are now.”
Under the proposals, each GP practice will have a patient participation group, made up of residents.
Claire Haynes from the NHS’s Patient Advice and Liaison Services explained that each group will have information fed to it from community groups, such as Ilkeston Stroke Club and Breathe Easy Ilkeston, to determine local health needs. This information will then be passed on to NHS Erewash – which is known as a clinical commissioning group.
“It’s about reaching out into the community and getting feedback from lots of different groups,” she said.
Added Dr Bhatia: “One of the reasons we wanted to go with a smaller group as opposed to one with half a million patients is we felt we could better effect change locally and have better connections with patients locally.”
Another meeting is set for Long Eaton Town Hall on Wednesday 12 October from 6.30pm to 8pm. Call 01773 599462 to book a place.