A paper on the next stage of the re-organisation of NHS Greater Glasgow was presented to the Board today (Tuesday).
These proposals, for the next stage of single-system working across the city's health service, are being driven forward as a direct result of "Partnership for Care" which clearly directs Health Boards to:
* Make better use of resources to improve services for patients;
* Devolve decision-making to a local level;
* Increase consistency and equity of access;
* Reduce duplication.
Discussions on streamlining NHS services in Glasgow have been ongoing for some time, and today (Tuesday) a paper drawing together the elements of the approach was presented to the Board.
Information will be circulated among staff about the way forward and staff consultation and public/patient engagement will take place until February 14, 2005.
Sir John Arbuthnott, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow, explained: "These changes involve streamlining our system across the full range of services and creating more locally-targeted delivery through Community Health Partnerships (CHPs). In this way, frontline staff will have more control, will work closer with other services and will deliver for people in their communities."
The Chairman added: "We have introduced new working arrangements for all staff in the NHS in the form of new contracts. The time is right to maximise the benefits of modernisation.
"The added opportunity of closer collaboration with local authorities gives us the means of improving efficiency and of delivering a joined-up service."
Sir John stressed, however, it's important to note that the final part of the restructuring jigsaw - the acute services - won't make a tangible difference to the day-to-day jobs of frontline health staff, for example nurses will still be caring for the same patients in the same way day-by-day, week-by-week.
So why re-structure the city's health service?
The biggest challenge facing Greater Glasgow is improving health and quality of life.
One of the biggest issues we face in Scotland, and Glasgow in particular - in the national health service, local authorities, voluntary sector and community groups and as individuals - is to address our unenviable inequality gaps in health, life and education.
The providers of the health services that can address these issues are many and they are diverse - ranging from social work to housing to mental health to GP services and opticians.
So how will people see the impact of this?
A particular example is child health:
* Child health in Glasgow is of great concern, with far too many vulnerable youngsters facing difficulties with social, physical and mental health problems;
* There are 160,000 children in Greater Glasgow, of which around 25,000 live with a parent or guardian with an addiction problem;
* More than 5,000 of our children are admitted to hospital every year;
* There are six parliamentary constituencies in our area where more than 50% of the children officially live in poverty;
* Five out of 10 children in Greater Glasgow rely on free hot school meals - such is the level of deprivation.
This level of poverty and inequality can only be tackled with local services and action, and a new team approach to providing the whole spectrum of health and health related services is at the cornerstone of CHPs. These will be organisations that are large enough to have clout, big enough to drive forward the health improvement agenda and well enough resourced to make real differences locally; that will influence and work alongside the professionals who deliver acute hospital care services; that are locally managed with input from a wide range of professions, patient and carer representatives, voluntary organisations, and senior management representatives from acute hospitals and joint health and social care partnerships including mental health.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* NHS Greater Glasgow's re-organisation is separate to Agenda for Change - which is a national move.
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