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So long NHS Lincolnshire…

NHS Lincolnshire will no longer exist after the NHS reforms come into place on April 1, changing the way health services are commissioned across the county.

As part of new Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), GPs and other key healthcare professionals will be responsible for around 80% of the healthcare budget in their area, while public health services will move to Lincolnshire County Council.

The Lincolnshire West CCG will cover 223,000 people with 37 practices including Lincoln, Navenby, Gainsborough, North Hykeham, Branston, Nettleham, Brigg, Welton, Saxilby, Ingham, Washingborough, Metheringham, Willingham by Stow, Bassingham and Scotter.

There will be three other CCGs covering the county: Lincolnshire East, including Market Rasen, Horncastle, Louth and Boston; South Lincolnshire including Stamford, Bourne and Spalding; and South West Lincolnshire, covering Sleaford and Grantham.

Edie Butterworth is the Transition Director at NHS Lincolnshire, who has worked over the last two years with organisations in the health and social care community to support the change from old to new NHS organisations.

Lincolnshire CCGs

“The four emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups in Lincolnshire will take over our role as local commissioners and have been working in shadow since 2012 to ensure they are well prepared to become statutory bodies on April 1,” Edie Butterworth said.

“GP, pharmacy, dental and optical services will be commissioned by the Leicestershire and Lincolnshire Commissioning Board Area Team, part of the NHS Commissioning Board.

“NHS Lincolnshire has achieved an incredible amount which wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of all our staff, and we’re proud to leave a legacy of improving health and improving services from the last seven years,” he added.

Dr Sunil Hindocha, Accountable Officer for the Lincolnshire West CCG, said: “There are over 220,000 people living in Lincolnshire West over an area of about 420 square miles and we are committed to making sure people receive compassionate care and excellent health services that help them lead a healthy lifestyle and preventing illness.

“Our priorities for the future include reducing the differences between the least healthy and most healthy communities, helping residents to have high quality and responsive healthcare of their choice, and to continually improve health for all our population, whilst improving the quality and safety of local services even further,” he explained.

New duties for public health

Meanwhile, public health services including immunisation, healthy eating, tobacco and alcohol, drug recovery, sexual health, pregnancy and children’s health, have transferred over to Lincolnshire County Council.

Councillor Sue Woolley, Executive Councillor for health, community and housing at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We want to make sure that people living and working in Lincolnshire lead long, healthy and happy lives by improving the health of the population and reducing inequalities.

“These changes are part of the government’s health reforms, and we are well-placed to take on these services, as we already have responsibility for many important cross-cutting services such as planning, schools and transport.

“This is an exciting time with many new opportunities already being taken to work more efficiently and effectively. We have already seen savings of more than £1 million through contract negotiations which offer improved services.”

Under the new arrangements, the council will also provide public health guidance to the county’s four new CCGs, made up of 102 GP practices, as they plan services like hospital and emergency care.

Dr Tony Hill, Director of Public Health, said: “We have been working behind the scenes for some time to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible. Many of the services are provided by community groups, charities, partnerships and private businesses and this will continue to be the case, so you can access services just as easily as you have in the past.”