This week has been an important one in terms of the future of healthcare in Bassetlaw as we saw the final meeting of the Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is the body responsible for commissioning most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local area. A big thank you to all those involved for their hard work and dedication.
This is because, as a result of the Government’s new Health & Care Act, from July 1st we will have a new Integrated Care Board (ICB) for Nottingham & Nottinghamshire and also an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP).
What does this actually mean? Well, the ICB will be responsible for NHS services and funding, whereas the ICP covers broader issues such as public health and social care. Together they both make up our Integrated Care System.
In the past we have been part of the Integrated Care System for South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw. One of the big issues we have had in Bassetlaw is that our services are not as closely linked with the rest of the county as they could be, and this leads to us duplicating a number of them, for example social care and children’s services. This is not just ineffective, but also isn’t the best way of spending your money.
Many people asked me how the new changes will affect us locally in terms of the health services we use in Bassetlaw. I raised these matters with the Secretary of State and Health Ministers and they wrote back confirming that people can still use hospital services in South Yorkshire and we will continue to be part of Doncaster & Bassetlaw NHS Foundation Trust. Our funding will be calculated in exactly the same way.
There are no changes at all to infrastructure projects, such as our planned A&E upgrade and plans for evening and weekend children’s provision. The great news on this front is that the Conservative Government has also increased funding from £14.9million to £17.6million, so Bassetlaw will be getting a much better deal!
Regardless of some claims, individual MPs don’t get to negotiate and decide how much money they get locally. These things are decided at Government and departmental level, and it is our job as MPs to lobby and make the case to others as to why we need investment, what sort of investment we need and when promises are made that they are delivered on. It is therefore not a ‘gift’ from MPs or decided by nudges and winks, but instead against strict criteria. At the end of the day it is all taxpayers’ money anyway. I’m just glad we are getting our fair share of it in Bassetlaw now.
In effect, the change to our ICS means that we will have the best of both worlds, having a system that links up better with the rest of Nottinghamshire and the County Council, as well as being able to continue with our strong links to services in South Yorkshire, many of which are closer than those in the rest of the county. The important thing is that we have excellent health services available to us locally – not where the office is located that allocates the budgets.
So the next time somebody tells you that the hospital is closing down or nonsense about losing services or everybody being forced to go to Nottingham for treatment (I’m not naming any names, but I think you know what I mean - and it usually happens at election times...), then please feel free to put them right!