NHS changes to services in Wandsworth

Posted on Nov 26, 2012

Report on meeting held November 22 November by the Community Panel:        

Changes to your health care and services in Wandsworth, and what YOU can do about it'


Chair:  Jeremy Ambache – ex LiNK, Healthwatch, Chartfield patient rep 
Speakers:       Dr Houda Al-Sharifi – Director of Public Health Wandsworth, Dr Peter Ilves – Danebury Surgery, Chair of West Wandsworth Local Commissioning Group, Mike O’Bryan – patient representative on West Wandsworth Commissioning Group, Heathbridge Practice.

Jeremy Ambache explained to us that Healthwatch will take over from LiNK in April 2013.

Healthwatch will comprise of a network of groups who use health and social care services, with the aim of giving patients and users a voice locally and nationally. There is Healthwatch England, which works at the national level, and then there are local Healthwatch groups. There will be one Healthwatch for every local authority area, and they will take the experiences of local people and use them to help shape local services. Healthwatch England will make sure that people who use health and social care services are able to have their voice heard by the Secretary of State, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the NHS Commissioning Board, and every local authority in England. More information on www.healthwatch.co.uk

Jeremy told us that there is the Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group (WCCG). The WCCG covers 46 medical practices, is lead by Dr Nicola Jones and works with NHS Wandsworth, Wandsworth Council, and patient groups. The public can attend meetings and ask questions of the speakers. GPs will work together to manage their budgets and to influence all the wider commissioning decisions within the new Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group. These commissioning decisions will be both ‘clinically led’ and worked out in partnership with patients / patient groups.

Dr Houda Al-Sharifi explained that the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is a snapshot of the population in the Borough and the health and well-being of its people. There is a gap in life expectancy between the most and least affluent areas of more than 7 years, with coronary heart disease being the greatest single cause. Childhood obesity is a major concern, with teenage pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol related hospital admissions all having risen. Wandsworth has higher than expected rates of mortality from circulatory disease and cancer, as well as a high rate of excess winter deaths, and the mortality rate from winter falls is also high. There is concern that carers may have unmet health and support needs, and there is a drive to enable the over 75’s to maintain their independence. The full document is available on www.wandsworth.gov.uk/observatory

Dr Peter Ilves talked to us about health care services being patient focused, outcome driven, principled and collaborative.  He outlined the Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) review in South West London. This will be formally consulted on in 2013 and will include: prioritizing clinical quality, less Hospital with A and E provision, more care out of hospital and savings that have to be made over 5 years.

(Primary care refers to services provided by GP practices, dental practices, community pharmacies and high street optometrists. Secondary care is defined as a service provided by medical specialists who generally do not have first contact with patients)

Peter talked about Personal and Community Resilience. At present we, the patients, are very Primary and Secondary care dependent. The hope and plan is that, as time goes on, we will become more involved with Integrated Health Care and will end up with Community networks of support, with Primary and Integrated Care working closely together. The need for Secondary care (both acute and non-acute) will be reduced by the other systems in place having kicked in earlier, in a more preventative way.

Wandsworth CCG and Health and Wellbeing Board are committing to deliver truly integrated health and social care through the Planning All Care Together programme.

(There are many Groups and organisations involved, but, as Convenor of the Community Panel of the Putney Society, I have decided that we will have to host another meeting in 6 months time. By then we should have a better idea of how things are going, and can then get to grips with all the different groups, what they do, and how they affect us. As well as learning their names and acronyms!)

Mike O’Bryan explained how the GP Practice Patient Consultative Groups work (PPCG) with the Local Commissioning Group (LCG). There are 9 practices in Putney and Roehampton working to produce consistent long term plans. It’s really important that patients get involved and join the Patient Groups at their doctor’s surgeries. If you don’t get involved and voice your concerns, then it’s going to be impossible for patient’s ideas and concerns to be taken on board, changed or improved. Mike collates the information gathered from the different PCG’s (Patient Consultative Groups) and takes it up the ladder to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


There are Clinical Reference Groups (CRG’s) which focus on different areas, such as sexual health, substance misuse, children’s services, diabetes, sickle cell, mental health etc.


There were a wide variety of questions about care of the elderly, worries about privatisation of the health service, Sure Start, the effects of poverty, the Maternity Unit at St George’s (Trudi Kemp from St Georges explained how their maternity unit was originally set up to take 3000 births a year, and is now up to 5000. They just can’t take more patients, hence having to send pregnant women to other hospitals), the Out of Hours (Harmoni) service, data sharing between Hospital and GPs, Drugs and alcohol services, developing community resilience, high rates of Cancer … and much more!


One thing we forgot to mention : 111 is the new three-digit telephone service that's being introduced to improve access to NHS urgent care services. Patients can use this number when they need medical help or advice and it's not urgent enough to call 999. NHS 111 operates 24/7, 365 days per year and is free to use from a landline and a mobile.


Tags: NHS, Health Care, A & E closures, Putneymead Medical Centre, Wandsworth Local Commissioning Group