We know that local people have many questions about the NHS changes – here we have listed a few that we have heard. We hope you find them useful.

Trained doctors are not trained managers or accountants – how are they going to run the NHS?

Whilst it’s true that family doctors are not accountants or managers, GPs daily contact with patients gives them the best insight into local health care needs. This patient-based knowledge ensures the most appropriate use of NHS resources to provide the best possible health outcomes for the Northumberland community.

The new system gives GPs a great opportunity to influence how local health services should be planned to meet the needs of their patients. GP commissioners won’t be expected to spend their time learning how to be accountants. Happily they’ll get that sort of management support from experienced professionals.

How will things changes for patients?

Local people already benefit from good local health services. Some of the best hospital services in the country are based here and local NHS services are consistently rated as being of a high-quality. However, there is no room for complacency and so we continue to work closely with other NHS organisations and partners like local authorities who will have new responsibilities for public health, to ensure healthcare is even more responsive to the needs of local people.

It’s been said that patients will have more opportunity to influence developments in local services. How can they do that?

Many patients are already involved in GP practice patient participation groups – giving their opinions to help improve their local practice services. One of the ways local people get involved in the wider planning of local services is to bring the practice participation groups into patient forums.

It would be great if more people got involved with their practices – just ask your practice staff about your local group.

Other ways to get involved include making your views known to the NHS by completing a survey – you can also register your interest for further involvement. Your views really do count and will help us ensure services are more responsive in the future.

Will other professions such as nurses and hospital doctors be involved in these changes as well as the GPs?

When the NHS changes were first proposed they were originally called ‘GP Commissioning Consortia’. Following feedback from health care professionals, these consortia have been re-named ‘clinical commissioning groups’ to reflect the wider clinical membership of the organisations. There are many different groups of doctors, nurses and health professionals involved in clinical commissioning, they work together to ensure the wider clinical views are represented to influence how healthcare and health services in the future will be planned.

Will care be improved for someone who, for example, has diabetes?

Part of the CCG’s task is to ensure it constantly improves the support for people living with long-term conditions like diabetes, whether it is provided by a GP or in hospital. But it’s worth remembering that if you are unhappy with your care you should feel confident in telling someone like your doctor or nurse. If you don’t feel confident in telling them you can ask to speak to the GP practice manager or the manager of the service you receive.

What support is available to make sure patients and the public can get involved from all backgrounds?

The CCG are working with Community Health Care Forum (CHCF) to ensure that patients and the public who want to be involved can be. This includes sign posting to events and groups based on personal interests, as well as support and advice where mobility issues may prevent people accessing venues and public transport is available.

Language translation, audio and braille version of documents are also available upon request. CHCF can also provide support to patients and the public by explaining documents.

If you would like to contact CHCF for advice and support, they are available at:

Community and Health Care Forum
Room B2
Linskill Centre
Linskill Terrace
North Shields
NE30 2AY

Tel: 0191 2578000

Email: michele.chcf@btinternet.com