Region’s top health experts gather to address local healthcare needs
East Lancashire Commissioning Group joins forces with UCLan Medical School
Health professionals and researchers from across the region have come together to outline the challenges of meeting the population’s healthcare needs and potential ways to meet them.
Clinicians and commissioners from East Lancashire Commissioning Group joined The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) School of Medicine for the Emerging New Care Models Workshop. They looked at how GP surgeries can be modernised to better fit patients’ needs, how technology can be used more effectively, especially in rural communities and for people who are house bound, and how people can work more collaboratively across primary care.
Ideas included bringing 3D printers into some GP practices, combining dentistry into primary care developments and ensuring the workforce is fit for purpose with more flexible courses and closer collaboration with academia.
Professor Umesh Chauhan, Pendle GP and Professor in Primary Care at UCLan’s Medical School Mackenzie Institute of Clinical Research in Burnley, said: “General Practice is the cornerstone of the NHS. About 90% of contact people have with the NHS is through their GP practice. Demand for GP services has never been higher and the challenges facing the NHS have never been greater.
“Not only do we have an ageing population, but many people have complex health needs and health inequity related to social circumstances. We are seeing increases in chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia and mental illness, and asthma.
“It was therefore, very exciting to see local GPs, hospital doctors, dentists, public health experts and researchers giving up their time to get together to really consider what we can do to tackle the challenges we face and improve the health and wellbeing of people in East Lancashire.
“There were some great ideas shared ranging from making better use of technology and science including the use of digital cameras, and gadgets to record people’s health, to considering how we can modernise GP practices to keep up with the pace of change. It was clear that there is no shortage of ideas and a real passion for research and innovation. We now need to harness that to help everyone benefit from it.”
Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, gave examples of innovations being spread across the North West. This includes atrial fibrillation detection in GP surgeries using portable devices to detect irregular heart rhythm, which can indicate the risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease or stroke. This is being rolled out across the region through the Innovation Agency; the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast.
Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care and Deputy Medical Director, was the event’s keynote speaker and provided an update an on the progress being made in implementing the General Practice Forward View.
The event, at Stanley House in Mellor, provided a great opportunity for networking and future collaborative working. UCLan Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor StJohn Crean outlined the University’s collective expertise and networks to improve the health and wellbeing of people and communities. The Professor of Stroke Care at the University, Dame Caroline Watkins, launched funding opportunities for groups to work together on future research ideas.