Dr Gerry Skailes on how clinicians are working together on the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals ProgrammeDate posted: 29th July 2022
Clinicians from across our health and care system are helping to determine best practice care for local people. Dr Gerry Skailes, Medical Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme Clinical Oversight Group, outlines how the input of clinicians will shape the future of healthcare in the region.
What clinical work has happened so far?
We’ve been developing a Framework Model of Care, which is a key piece of work that has involved clinicians from right across the system. It is a document which outlines our aspirations for what future care should look like within our hospitals.
We have involved hospital clinicians from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window) and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window), but also from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (opens in new window), East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (opens in new window) and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, because we see this very much as a system model. Importantly, it has also involved colleagues from community services as well. It has outlined our aspirations of what care should look like within our hospitals, how that hospital care links with community services, and how we can start to work to transform our services so that patients are receiving the highest quality care in the most appropriate place for them to do so.
We have outlined the framework in which we’ll all be working and shared our vision with the wider health and care system right across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This is not only Royal Preston Hospital, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital as the priorities for investment in the New Hospitals Programme, but the wider health and care system right across Lancashire and South Cumbria. We are looking at how we can better link/ reduce the complexity of healthcare and are involving our social care partners to provide that highest quality of care for our patient population. There’s an enormous amount of work still to do looking at the detail of each of those patient pathways (the route that a patient follows from the first contact with an NHS member of staff pre-diagnosis through referral to the completion of treatment).
What have we learned from Covid-19 pandemic that may alter the way things are done in the future?
Whilst it has been an incredibly challenging time for everybody involved in health and care, I wanted to share some positives have come out of that. I think the greatest reflection for me is the way that we are working so much more effectively together across teams and organisations. We’ve managed to break down those barriers that we’ve had historically between organisations, and we have had the patient’s care at the heart of that.
We’ve really come on in terms of how we manage our services from the perspective of what’s best for the patient and how we can do that more effectively. We’ve had significant developments with some of our digital approaches, so where it’s appropriate we now will look to do consultations remotely, and that means far less travel for our patient population.
There have been a lot of changes within individual services, some of which have absolutely been for the better, and we will be keeping for the future. It has been a difficult time, but our response to the pandemic has taught us an awful lot and it has really demonstrated how we can work so effectively as a system.