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Princess Alexandra Hospital set to be at centre of health reforms

News / Thu 16th Jan 2020 pm31 01:53pm

By Local Democracy Reporter

PRINCESS Alexandra Hospital is to become the main administrator for primary care in West Essex and East Hertfordshire as part of major structural changes for the way health care is delivered.

Essentially three CCGs – East and North Hertfordshire, Herts Valleys and West Essex, will be managed under one roof by administrators at the hospital in Harlow.

The One Health and Care Partnership’s ambition is to bring together NHS organisations, local hospitals, GPs, social care and the charity and voluntary sector.

Andrew Geldard, chief officer for West Essex CCG, told a health board at Essex County Council on January 15: “Going forward Princess Alexandra will be the lead provider, the host and administrator of the One Health and Care Partnership and the bulk of CCG money will go through that route.

“What we are looking to develop from April over the next 12 months is a quasi organisation hosted by PAH which retains a strong identity of something in West Essex while we see the development of these bigger strategic commissioning responses .”

The changes are aimed at addressing significant health issues while helping keep finances in check.

Data compiled by the Hertfordshire and West Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership suggests in West Essex the population is living longer, growing and marked by significant differences in health experience and outcomes between its richest and poorest communities.

The system is seeing more complex patients with more complex needs, in a system which can be difficult to navigate, however these people are not always being seen at the right place. The data suggests that outcomes are achieved through an over reliance on acute care, which is unsustainable.

According to the partnership there are high levels of deprivation and health inequalities in several parts of Harlow. Lifestyle challenges include reducing smoking, drinking and obesity levels and increasing physical activity.

There is a higher rate of diabetes than the national average and an increasing number of people with dementia. There is also a higher than average ratio of jobs per person and an increasing number of jobs, however these jobs are often low paid and potentially zero hours contracts, which will impact patient behaviour in accessing services.

While deprivation is lower than average in Epping, inequalities exist and there are estimated to be 3,400 children living in poverty.

Mr Geldard said: “The job of the new quasi organisation is to blend the CCG responsibility with the provider responsibilities to then have an integrated approach within the geography for the implementation, not just of the NHS plan, but for other aspects of government policy.

“We’ve had a strong partnership with Essex County Council over a number of years. We see this as a catalyst to reinvigorate that particularly around social care in the patch.”

In the meantime plans are still progressing for a replacement for Princess Alexandra Hospital near junction 7a off the M11, with the government still working through how much money there will be available to build it.

An important meeting around the middle of February with senior officers from the department of health is expected to set the rules around the hospital improvements programme – the major government announcement to build six new hospitals across the country – of which Princess Alexandra is one.

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