Yesterday, our Chief Executive, Lindsay Weaver, attended the Specialised Healthcare Alliance quarterly meeting to hear Jon Stewart, Director of Specialised Commissioning, talk about plans to integrate more specialised services at a local level and potential changes to the Clinical Reference Groups.
Hear Lindsay’s thoughts on how these changes might impact patients and how Metabolic Support UK plan to support the NHS with the challenges they face.
“Yesterday, I attended the Specialist Healthcare Alliance quarterly meeting to hear Jon Stewart, Director of Specialised Commissioning, talk about plans to integrate more specialised services at a local level.
As a PPV member of the Clinical Reference Group for Metabolic, I was also keen to understand how the new proposed changes to CRGs would impact our level of engagement and representation of patient experience, needed to inform the way specialised services are commissioned and delivered. This is so important to Metabolic Support UK, given the changes being proposed.
My initial concern at the prospect of localising specialist services was that usually, in my experience, with delegation down away from national commissioning and towards CCG commissioning, there is more variability. This can be a good thing in many areas but with more specialist services, this can often mean that areas with good expertise see better patient outcomes compared to areas with less expertise. The issue is that expertise for some conditions is limited in areas of the country, especially in primary and secondary, which is usually an opportunity to prevent crisis, if treated effectively.
It’s reassuring to know that this approach will take disorders, which clearly need specialist care, into consideration and that these will remain in expert centres. But ongoing treatment might be localised, and this presents a challenge for our rarer disorders in ensuring that local services understand the patient’s complex needs.
The CRGs are Metabolic Support UK’s main vehicle for collaboration with Clinicians and where we can support NHS England by providing clinical data alongside patient experience and feedback to inform changes. The hope is that we will be given the opportunity to offer views on the proposed changes, but I also remain reassured after today that the fundamental principles of the CRGs will not change.
Metabolic Support UK is looking forward to working with NHS England through the CRG network and discussing how we can provide patient experience in a meaningful way to help with some of the challenges and decisions that will arise as part of the current Metabolic Services review and the future plans of the NHS. We are especially interested in ensuring that quality data is recorded to measure the patient experience particularly with the localising agenda.”