Consultation starts on plans to merge commissioning of NHS and Doncaster Council health and care services

Final arrangements are being made to complete a planned agreement to link together health services run by Doncaster Council and Doncaster NHS.

Bosses at Doncaster NHS Clinical Commisioning Group and Doncaster Council are due to publish a new joint commissioning strategy in March – with the aim of eliminating gaps in the system and stopping duplication of services.

The A&E department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary'DRI ER accident and emergency

The A&E department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary'DRI ER accident and emergency

It comes at a time when the NHS’ clinical commissioning groups are being asked to find 20 per cent savings in their running costs by 2022.

At present both the council and the NHS provide services away from hospitals.Now there are plans to merge the commissioning of those services and work together so each knows better what the other is doing.

This week, consultation has started on the scheme, so the public can raise any concerns they have or tell officials what they think they should include in their the plans.

Dr David Crichton, chairman of Doncaster NHS clinical commissioning group, said talks about working closer between the two organisations had been ongoing for two years, under a scheme called the Doncaster Place Plan.

The new strategy would put details into the arrangements.

He said: “It means as a doctor I will have a single point of contact I can call to arrange care for people who may need it.

“Working closer together like this should mean people don’t get passed from pillar to post.”

Areas of work that will see joint working will include services for children, services for the elderly, and services for people of working age.

Mr Crichton believes it will help improve arrangements as they are at present. He gave the example of the current situation in young children, which sees the NHS involved in care before the child is born and at birth, while after a child is born, it is then health visitors that work with the new parents. Health visitors are employed by the council.

The scheme will look at providing health care in the community rather than specifically in particular buildings. Some services will still have to be kept separate from the joint arrangements because of legal responsibilities held by either the council or the NHS which mean they have to be solely accountable for their operation.

To take part in the consultation log onto http://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/10671/a-new-year-brings-new-ways-of-working/ or attend a consultation event managed by Healthwatch Doncaster.

The first is on 6 February, 1-3pm at Bentley Library.