​Creating an NHS that helps you live your best life in Swale       

28 June 2019

The NHS in Kent and Medway is planning to change the way some aspects of health and care services are organised so they can provide better, more joined-up care.

The intention is for Kent and Medway to become an integrated care system with:

  • GP practices working together in networks – called ‘primary care networks’
  • four new ‘integrated care partnerships’ across Kent and Medway, drawing together all the NHS organisations in a given area and working more closely with health improvement services and social care
  • a single commissioning organisation for Kent and Medway, led by local doctors, to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ of health priorities for local people and look at where shared challenges, such as cancer and mental health, should be tackled together.

Dr Fiona Armstrong, chair of NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “I and my fellow CCG chairs across Kent and Medway want people to be able to live their best life, and get great treatment, care and support when they need it.

“Too often the experience of frail older people and people with complex health and care needs is that services are confusing and fragmented. That needs to change.

“Equally, working closely with our partners is absolutely key to our being able to deliver high quality, sustainable care that makes the best use of NHS staff and resources.

“Over the last three years the CCGs have made real progress by working with the rest of the local NHS, social care and public health as the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

“Now we collectively want to change some things about the way health services are organised. We believe this will unlock improvements in care for patients and help us meet rising demand.”

A document setting out full details of the plans, and a summary, are published today at https://kentandmedway.nhs.uk/workstreams/systemtransformation/. Local people are encouraged to respond to the plans by Friday, 16 August by filling in an online survey or by post or email.

Over coming weeks, every clinical commissioning group in Kent and Medway will be discussing the plan at their governing body meetings and with their member GP practices.

As an integrated care system, Kent and Medway will have:

  • about 42 primary care networks from 1 July 2019 each covering 30,000 to 50,000 people. They will have their own funding so they can employ new staff (such as physiotherapists with enhanced skills, who patients can refer themselves to without needing to see the GP first)  and provide some services for everyone in their area
  • four integrated care partnerships from April 2020, consisting of hospital, community, mental health, and commissioning organisations and primary care networks. These will be based on how patients currently use hospital services: one each for east Kent; Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley; Medway and Swale; and West Kent. While each organisation will hold a budget, they will agree together how funding is spent locally. They will free up staff to work in teams based on skills and patient needs, regardless of  which NHS organisation employs them
  • one system commissioner for the NHS, which may be formed by the eight existing clinical commissioning groups merging or working as one – the GPs who comprise the CCG membership will decide.

In addition to the above, the Kent and Medway integrated care system is also expected to include, by April 2021:

  • partnership board, representing commissioners and providers from across health and care organisations, as well as local government, the voluntary and community sector and other stakeholders
  • patient and public representatives ensuring patients have a voice within the new arrangements
  • clinical and professional board to scrutinise the evidence for change and advise on how best to improve the quality of care
  • partnership arrangements with elected members of local authorities through Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

This is in line with national policy set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

For people living in Kent and Medway it will mean:

  • more support to stay fit and well before things become a problem – including active reminders sent direct to you, and clinical initiatives to, for instance, identify people at higher risk of a stroke
  • better access to the care you need, when you need it, in a way that suits you – whether that’s in the evenings or at weekends, over the phone, by video link or a standard face-to-face appointment, with a physio, nurse, clinical pharmacist, GP, or support from a non-medical service.
  • more focus on your physical AND mental health and wellbeing, recognising that people have different personal aims and needs – we’ll respond to what matters to you, not the condition or disease that you may have
  • more care out of hospital, with staff working together as a single team to plan and support people with complex health and care needs stay as well as possible and get the care they need when they need it
  • better identification of the issues that need tackling and a real focus on quality services, wherever they are provided.

For staff it will mean:

  • higher job satisfaction as working in teams is less isolated and more rewarding
  • better work/life balance with each professional able to focus on what they do best
  • greater resilience and less risk of burnout,
  • greater influence on how resources are used to best effect for patients

Fill in our survey online, write to us at Freepost KENT & MEDWAY NHS, New Hythe Lane, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6WT or email us at comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net

The deadline for responses is Friday, 16 August.