City health body celebrates first birthday

25 March 2014

On 1 April 2014 NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) marks its one-year anniversary at the helm of the local health service.

Each of the city’s 94 GP practices is a member of the CCG, which is responsible for overseeing hospital and community health services for nearly half a million people. It took responsibility for a £730m budget on 1 April 2013.

The CCG recently embarked on a major five-year programme – ‘Healthy Liverpool’ – which will set ambitious aims for improving the city’s health. The programme will involve all organisations which provide NHS services in the city – from hospitals to GP practices – alongside Liverpool City Council and NHS England.

CCG milestones over the past year:

- A new city-wide phlebotomy service which started in early 2013 means that people sent for a blood test by their GP can now choose to have the sample taken at any one of 20 different clinics across Liverpool. Previously there were only a handful of clinics available.

- The CCG is the lead partner in the More Independent (Mi) programme, unveiled in June 2013, which is pioneering the use of cutting edge technology to allow local people to live more independently in their own homes. Funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, it is one of only four pilot projects across the country.

- The CCG and Liverpool City Council, together with a range of other organisations, are transforming the way that the city supports people with long term conditions. Already, local teams of GPs, community matrons, social workers, mental health workers and voluntary sector staff are coming together on a regular basis to identity people who are in most need of support, and put in place coordinated plans for their care.

- The CCG is a lead partner in a multi-million pound research project aimed at tackling inequalities and addressing long-term health conditions, together with the University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire. The team was awarded £9 million as part of a £124 million programme to address the nation’s most pressing health challenges. NHS, local authority and university partners along the north west coast have made a further joint investment of £12.5 million.

- In response to increased NHS pressures over the colder months the CCG invested an additional £5.2m in hospital, community and GP services this winter.  

- The CCG was part of the Mayoral Health Commission, set up by Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson and chaired by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, which published its proposals for the future of health and social care in the city in January 2014.

- As part of its Primary Mental Health Care Strategy the CCG is investing nearly £1 million (over three years) in a city-wide service which will provide patients with benefits advice via their GP practice. The ‘Advice on Prescription’ programme allows practices to refer patients to a dedicated team of Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) advisers. It was developed after local GPs reported a rise in patients presenting with problems that had a practical rather than medical cause, reflecting the strong link between social and economic hardship and poor health – and in particular poor mental health. The programme will be rolled out across Liverpool by summer 2014.

- As a further strand of its mental health strategy the CCG is funding a brand new website - www.wellbeingliverpool.org.uk – to promote non-medical ways to address and prevent mental health problems. The site, which launched in February 2014, includes a searchable directory of local services, activities and groups.

Dr Nadim Fazlani, Chair of Liverpool CCG, said: “It’s been an extremely busy year for the CCG’s Governing Body and the NHS in Liverpool as a whole. We’ve made some real progress over the past 12 months, but as a city we face enormous health challenges and in many ways the hard work is just beginning.

“We want people in Liverpool to enjoy the same opportunities for good health as people living elsewhere in the country, and to reduce the health gap that exists between different areas of the city. We also want to ensure that our local population has access to the very best health services, from an NHS which is fit to cope with future demands.

“As part of the Healthy Liverpool programme the CCG will look at how more health services can be delivered in the community rather than in hospitals, while at the same time ensuring that those things that can only be done in hospital truly meet local requirements.

“We have set ourselves a significant challenge, and through Healthy Liverpool we’ll be working in partnership with other NHS organisations, Liverpool City Council and most importantly, local people, to develop plans which meet the city’s needs both now and in the years to come.”