By Tim Clarke Thursday 14 March 2013 Updated: 15/03 10:17
TACKLING health inequalities in some of the poorest areas of Worcester and reducing A&E waiting times are among the challenges facing the new body in charge of NHS services.
The South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) revealed some of its key priorities during its launch at St Richard’s Hospice on Wednesday (March 21).
The CCG will be responsible for a budget of about £320million to spend on commissioning hospital, community and mental health services for 292,000 patients in the south of the county from April 1.
Patients, residents, councillors and representatives from the community and voluntary sector were among those who attended the launch to learn more about its plans for the forthcoming year.
Droitwich-based GP Dr Carl Ellson, who is the Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG, said they had spent the past year trying to engage the local community in setting its priorities.
“It’s our job to make sure on behalf of the patients we serve that we are buying good quality services,” he said.
“We have come up with some aims and objectives for the coming year which includes improving mental health services but one of the really big things we are trying to sort out is urgent care and a lot of work is going into that over the next few months. This is delivered by lots of organisations in Worcestershire and it’s about trying to get everyone working together to make it as efficient as possible.”
One of the CCG’s main priorities is tackling health inequalities in some of the most deprived areas of south Worcestershire and it has already given £50,000 to each of the district councils in Worcester, Wychavon and Malvern to help address this.
The organisation is also working closely with other bodies including the county and city council to target the most deprived parts of Worcester.
Other areas high on the CCG’s hit list include easing the pressure on Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E department which has struggled throughout the past year to meet Government waiting time targets.
Part of the solution will be trying to deliver more urgent care in the community and people’s homes.
The organisation also wants to reverse the trend of declining health visitor numbers and improve the standard of mental health services.
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