Care closer to home

With an initial vision to deliver care closer to home and provide high quality treatment in top class facilities, we have already made progress by opening several new health centres and community based clinics, providing health services that are usually delivered by hospitals. Many local patients are now benefiting from more choice of where and when to have their treatment.

So what does care closer to home mean?

We want to help patients to be seen in the right place at the right time. With modern enhancements in technology and training, we can now offer more services out of a hospital setting. This could be by:

  • Consultants delivering clinics within GP surgeries, or other community venues
  • Minor surgery or check ups being done within your GP surgery or community clinic
  • Your GP being able to ask a hospital specialist for advice on the best treatment, rather than you being referred unnecessarily to hospital.

As you will know we have built a number of community health centres, which house multiple GP surgeries and community clinics e.g. diabetes. This has helped us to improve access, and reduce the amount of patients who need to be referred to one of the bigger hospitals.

Just some of the new services we have delivered closer to home, include:

Case study access to specialist diabetes care in GP surgeries

Around 35,000 local people have been diagnosed with diabetes, with many more potentially undiagnosed. Working with our two service providers, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, we have reviewed diabetes services during 2013/14. Our aim was to provide specialist diabetes services closer to home, and our review found we could do this by giving GPs access to consultant advice.

On the 1 April 2014, we introduced Diabetes Community Care Extension (DiCE) teams aligned to GP surgeries. Each DiCE team includes a consultant and diabetes specialist nurse who can answer queries from their GP surgeries. The first point of contact for most patients is their local GP, so by enhancing the consultant support available to GP surgeries we can minimise inconvenience for patients through unnecessary referrals. Under the new scheme, where appropriate, patients can benefit from specialist consultant advice without needing to visit hospital.

In developing this new model we worked closely with patients who have diabetes and local diabetes support groups.

Dr Salman Shahid, Clinical lead for diabetes at Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:

“As a local GP, I knew there was more that we could do to simplify services for diabetes patients. By giving GPs greater access to consultant advice we can save patients unnecessary referrals to hospital and deliver quality care.”

Case study community nursing

Healthcare partners worked together during 2013/14 to transform community nursing, wrapping services around the needs of the patient. Working closely with GPs and community nursing teams we aligned services with GP practices. This involved creating 35 skilled integrated nursing teams, who can connect with all services that a patient needs to provide seamless and coordinated care.

We have developed this service following feedback from patients, nurses and clinicians. During summer 2013, we held 21 events with over 800 patients taking the time to share their views on how we provide quality community nursing locally.

Key to this work has been developing a common approach to services in both Sandwell and West Birmingham, as we inherited two different services from the former primary care trusts. By listening to feedback, we believe we have taken the best from both areas and created a quality and consistent service. Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust will still provide the services, but will now have a common approach. Patients should start to see improvements from 1 April 2014 when the new service launched.

Dr Priyanand Hallan, clinical lead for community nursing at Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG:

“This project was the first service redesign for the CCG, and I feel we have achieved something special. The integrated community nursing service will provide joined-up, multi-disciplinary healthcare to patients and will support GPs, who are central to the development and delivery of an individual patient’s care plan. With every decision there is a patient, and I know that this project will improve patient experience.”

Case study Halycon Birthing Centre

The Halcyon Midwifery Birth Centre opened in Smethwick, West Birmingham in October 2011. It is a standalone facility.

The purpose-built midwife-led birth centre was commissioned by Sandwell Primary Care Trust (PCT), and is provided by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBH).

It was specially designed to accommodate low-risk births in an environment that makes mums feel comfortable and relaxed during labour. It features three en-suite birthing rooms, each with a fixed, under-lit birth pool, and a range of furniture and accessories designed to help families feel ‘at home’ and ensure the labour goes smoothly and safely.

There is also a reception area with seating and secure access, and a sensory garden for mums-to-be in need of fresh air.