My View, Dr Nick Tupper - More help if you’re 75 or over

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This is the start of an interesting and exciting week for NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). We’re responsible for organising and paying for the health services used by around 310,000 Doncaster patients and our annual budget is over £420 million.

That equates to about £1,350 for every man, woman and child who is registered with a GP practice based in Doncaster borough.

This year, in addition to the services we fund – which covers everything from prescriptions to operations – the Government has asked us to take out of our budget £5 for every Doncaster patient and place it in a special pot.

That ‘pot’, which adds up to around £1.5 million across the borough, has been ring-fenced to help GP practices develop new ways of improving services for local older people. It’s intended to fund additional health services that can help make life easier for them.

A few weeks ago NHS Doncaster CCG asked the 43 practices based in Doncaster to think about what they could do individually or collectively to develop and enhance services for older people. This funding may, for example, be used to introduce new services based at local surgeries, or for new or additional ones based in our local communities.

We asked the practices to work up their plans which, if accepted, can be funded from this ‘£5 per patient’ pot of money.

I’m delighted to say that this week our clinicians and managers will review those proposals to see which ones we want to take forward.

Those I have seen so far look innovative and exciting and could make a real difference to the way local care is provided.

I am really pleased that we’re putting the spotlight on older people and that GPs, who know the health needs of the communities they serve better than anyone else, are driving forward this initiative.

I’m looking forward to talking about how we’re investing this money in improved care in future columns.

This year the Government has decided to put a special focus on those patients who are aged 75 and over and also on those who have complex health needs.

Everyone who is 75 and above will have a named GP at their practice who will be responsible for managing and co-ordinating the care they need. In future years I think we will probably see this arrangement extended to the increasing number of people who have long-term health needs.

Doncaster CCG is working closely with local GP practices to try and transform the care of older people so we can reduce the number of times they are admitted to hospital in an emergency. By providing the right health services in community locations we can help Doncaster’s older people to stay well and in doing so maintain their independence for as long as they possibly can.

* Dr Nick Tupper, Chairman, Doncaster clinical commissioning group