We are seeking your views on our proposed prioritisation process
NHS East Lancashire, along with Blackburn with Darwen CCG are considering a prioritisation process to be used as part of our way of choosing what services to commission, or not, or where we need to develop services more.
We have taken our time in developing the draft process and policy. We held an initial Prioritisation Process Workshop on the 16th July 2015 at Walshaw House, Nelson and where we were able to, we incorporated peoples’ views and comments into a revised draft. It was clear from that workshop that the majority of attendees recognised the importance of prioritisation given the finite budget that we receive in the NHS.
Furthermore it was also recognised that historically the NHS has funded some services and treatments for which there is no recognised nor agreed clinical value. The example we used at the meeting was the historic investment in tonsillectomies (removal of tonsils) and the recognition that a growing research evidence base and clinical practice tells us that this particular intervention is not clinically beneficial for patients. On this basis, it would be appropriate to prioritise other more clinically beneficial services or interventions. A process for the prioritisation of treatments and services would enable us as CCGs to commission services in a rigorous, objective or scientific, open and transparent way.
To create such a process we spent time investigating policies and methods of prioritisation that had been adopted and used elsewhere. All such policies and methods have by necessity had some form of assessment using criteria against which to score and to weight each intervention or service. When we presented this in July, it was clear that many felt that this process was complex; but nevertheless we needed to have some objective means of rating and comparing services to enable us to determine what services should be prioritised.
There are many services that East Lancashire CCG and Blackburn with Darwen CCG commission (buy) together. We have a long established history of joint working, most notably to improve urgent care services, and more recently in the development of ophthalmology and musculo-skeletal services. When we work jointly together we say that we are working on a “Pennine Lancashire” geographical footprint, serving residents in the five boroughs of East Lancashire, and Blackburn with Darwen CCG.
It was agreed by both CCGs that it would be sensible for both organisations to follow the same prioritisation policy to ensure that decisions about priorities are consistent and that we do not inadvertently create an unnecessary “post code lottery” with different policies being adopted in BwD and in East Lancashire. The policy therefore will result in an internal process for prioritisation, which, following patient and public engagement will ensure a consistent approach across Pennine Lancashire (Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire).