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Independent report calls on local hospitals to work together even more closely

doctor with patient
09 May 2018

An Independent Review set up to ensure people across South Yorkshire, Bassetlaw and Chesterfield continue to receive excellent hospital services now and into the future has made a series of recommendations in a report published on 9 May.

The Hospital Services Review (HSR) Report strongly recommends that to continue to provide high quality services across the region, hospitals must work together even more closely and in ways that connect teams across all sites.

The central theme is for local people to continue to get as much hospital care as possible in their local District General Hospital (DGH). This includes a recommendation to keep all seven emergency departments (EDs) in Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Rotherham, the Major Trauma Centre and ED at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield and the ED at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Networks of care

In new networks of care, it is proposed that different hospitals could take the lead for each of the five clinical services reviewed. The responsibilities of local hospitals could include strengthening the workforce and making sure that all patients get care to the same high standards.

The networks would be designed with patients, the public and clinicians with the emphasis on delivering the networked service to a specification agreed across all hospital sites. The aim of care networks would be to ensure the hospitals work together to provide safe, sustainable, high quality care in an even more coordinated way.

Also among the proposals are two new regional centres of excellence to support the networks. A Health and Care Institute would link the region’s universities, colleges and schools with the NHS and local authorities to focus on region wide workforce solutions. As well as recruiting and nurturing the workforce of the future, it would include a single joint approach to developing and putting shared ways of working in place.

The creation of an Innovation Hub, which would be in partnership with the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network, would spot and quickly roll out innovation schemes across the region, such as new technologies.

Children’s services

The review has identified real challenges in sustaining some services in every DGH, in particular children’s and maternity services, and the Report recommends that networks and wider collaboration are the best opportunity to sustain local services at their current levels.

In children’s services the Report recommends expanding services for children in the community and in short stay units. This would lead to shorter stays for children and would likely mean there would be less need for longer stay inpatient wards.

For those children still needing longer stays in hospital for more complex problems, it may be possible to provide this in fewer units and the Report recommends that further work be carried out to consider a small reduction in the number of inpatient paediatric units.

Ongoing work

Work is already happening with local communities and organisations to ensure the right configuration of services are provided locally to support the needs of patients, while addressing the wider challenges, and the Report identifies where more opportunities could be explored.

Should the Report recommendations be accepted, additional work would be undertaken over the next year to further scope the options and the team would continue to hear from patients, public and staff.

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