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CCG Governing Board accepts recommendations for hospital services

The Governing Body of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has today formally accepted the recommendations of the Local Care Board in relation to the future of acute hospital-based services for the Isle of Wight.

In doing so, the Governing Body endorsed the view of the Island’s Local Care Board that:

  • Island residents should receive the same standards of care as anywhere else in the country
  • Services should be delivered on-Island first wherever clinically appropriate
  • With residents only having to travel for services when it is essential to do so
  • Services between hospitals, the community and social care being better connected
  • With a workforce that is grown, developed, trained and supported so that it can sustain services over the longer-term

In light of this, the Governing Body accepted the recommended Option 4 with the modifications suggested by the Local Care Board. The agreement was that:

  • About 89% of current acute hospital-based care should remain on the Island
  • A small percentage (11%) of more complex, urgent care should in future be transferred for specialist care to the mainland where the outcome of their treatment would provide better results
  • Patients who currently travel to the mainland for routine care should, in future, be able to have that care delivered on the Island - resulting in fewer journeys for Island patients overall
  • There would be no change in capacity at St Mary’s until actual changes in activity are put in place
  • Further work will be undertaken with mainland hospitals to support the Island to resolve its workforce challenges

There was an acceptance that the issue of safety would be paramount when considering re-organising services and it agreed that no service changes will be made until clinicians are satisfied that the most robust processes are in place to support the safety of patients being transferred to, or retrieved from, the mainland.

CCG Governing Board members also recognised that travelling off the Island can, at times, be difficult, stressful, and costly for both patients and those who care for them. Keeping this burden to a minimum will be a central concern in the next phase of work when more detailed discussions about services begin to take place.

Today’s recommendation comes after a long period of consideration over the future of hospital services on the Island. This work has been clinically-led, and has benefited from patients, stakeholders and community involvement.

Throughout this process the intention has been to seek solutions to the mounting pressures faced by the Island’s health and care systems – an ageing population, the growing need for complex and specialist care, difficulties recruiting key staff groups, the challenge of keeping staff skill levels high when performing relatively low numbers of some procedures, and the financial pressures of maintaining such a wide range of hospital services for a relatively small local population.

Dr Michele Legg, the chair of the CCG Governing Body, said: “This is about trying to get the balance right – we want to ensure that nobody has to make difficult journeys for hospital care unless they absolutely have to, but at the same time we must also ensure that Island residents can get access to the best, safest care when they need it.

“To try to strike that balance, we want to see more routine care provided to a high quality on the Island so that we limit unnecessary travel. But we also accept that, for a small number of patients with certain complex conditions, they will receive better care and results from their treatment from larger, more specialist teams than those we have based on the Island. These are teams that are performing multiple procedures every day rather than several times a year and who have access to specialist equipment and staff.

“Fundamentally, we believe the right approach is to keep hospital care convenient whenever possible but that sometimes getting access to the best possible specialist care must be the overriding priority.”

Today's decision marks an important milestone but is by no means the final step in this process. Over the coming months, these proposals will need to be further developed and refined with local professionals, partner NHS organisations, stakeholders and residents.

The specific plans will also be considered by NHS England, and will then be subject to a formal process of public consultation, likely to be towards the end of the year.

The papers for the meeting can be read in full here.

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