Update 14 October 2014
The residents in Hatch End and Harrow are beginning to benefit from the improved services from the NHS. If you are over 75 you will have been notified by your practice the name of the doctor responsible for you. More surgeries are providing a seven-day service, open to all, near you and with the use of the improved 111 service and the 24/7 Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Northwick Park there is little need to attend A&E except in the case of real emergency situations. There are now special carers’ services at your local surgery provided they know you are a carer. Please ensure you are registered as a carer at your practice to benefit from this service. The availability of your Summary Care Record is spreading as the practices prepare them. These records are enabling authorised clinicians to access them when you are away from your home practice. So with all these and more extra services coming on stream keep in touch through the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) website (see below) which is about to be refreshed, making it more user friendly.
This autumn there are also improvements of facilities at our local major hospital, Northwick Park. The new additional operating theatres are open which will reduce the number of elective (planned not emergency) operations which have to be cancelled on the day. In addition, refurbishment of others is underway. The new A&E and UCC departments are opening at the back of the hospital near the operating theatres and specialty support wards which will prevent urgent cases having to be trolleyed from front to back of the hospital and we hope will reduce waiting times. Planning work is beginning for additional wards in a few years’ time. The merger with Ealing Hospital Trust, completed on 1 October, is initially more a change in administration than change in services. The Trust will be called London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust (no doubt reduced to LNWHT) and will manage Northwick Park, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals as well as providing community services.
Looking wider to Northwest London the CCGs (PCT replacements) and hospitals are working together to improve services on a regional basis. Preparation and pilot projects are in hand for providing treatment nearer home for patients, joint working between the NHS and local authorities on health and social care as well as improved emergency care and maternity services by 2017/18 with a start being made at Ealing in spring 2015. The first sign locally is the upgraded UCC replacing the 12/7 A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital.
Improving healthcare on tight finances is a mammoth task and will take years to achieve which means we will all need patience. I know that getting an appointment with your preferred GP can be difficult but be assured that the local NHS is working very hard to give you the best services, near your home and in good time.
Some contacts for more information:
NHS Harrow CCG www.harrowccg.nhs.uk
NHS England www.england.nhs.uk
HealthWatch Harrow www.healthwatchharrow.co.uk/
HealthWatch England www.healthwatch.co.uk/
London Borough of Harrow http://harrow.gov.uk/
Northwick Hospital www.nwlh.nhs.uk/
Elliot Hall Medical Centre www.ehmc.co.uk/
Hatch End Medical Centre www.hatchendmc.co.uk/
Update 1 April 2013
On 1 April 2013 the re-organisation of the NHS came into force. This is a change of organisation and responsibility intended to improve services to patients. The changes are expected to create improvement and change driven by local clinicians rather than central administrators.
While the changes are far reaching there should be no immediate change to the how patients engage with the NHS although the name over the door might have changed.
The following is a very brief and simplified outline of the changes and is intended as an introduction to some of the new names and responsibilities.
Before 1April 2013 the health of the people of Harrow was the responsibility of NHS Harrow, the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). The PCT was responsible for the provision of health services by providers of health services required locally, such as primary care (GPs), hospital (NWLHT) and mental health (CNWLFT). All were responsible to NHS London, the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) for London
From 1 April there is no more PCT and no more SHA. They have been replaced by NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Harrow (NHS CCG Harrow) and NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB).
NHS CCG Harrow consists of local GPs elected by their peers to run the organisation that is responsible for the provision of health services for Harrow from providers and trusts as was PCT Harrow. The CCG is responsible to NHS CB London Division. Separately NHS CB is responsible for the provision and performance of GP practices and certain very specialist services provided nationally by the NHS.
It is intended that future updates will give descriptions of local health pathways that members will encounter and any changes and opportunities for involvement in health and social care by members.
The involvement of the Association
The Association monitors health and social care matters in harrow and keeps members informed with executive meeting updates and articles in the Bulletin and now will be posting matter of interest on the website. The HEA is a member of Community Voice, a grouping of local people and organisations from Hillingdon, Northwood and Harrow, which monitors and lobbies for health matters in Northwest London and, in particular, Mount Vernon Cancer services.
Health Changes in Harrow – update August 2015
The state of the NHS and GPs is in the national media a great deal these days and many promises were made during May’s General Election. A great deal of this talk is about the future and won’t affect local patients for some time. The political priorities for changes to the NHS and Council Social Care services don’t belong in this Bulletin so we’ll stick to the present and the impending changes in Harrow.
The first contact we have in health is with our GP surgery and this year we will all be able to book appointments on via their website as well as order repeat prescriptions and read our abbreviated medical records. Repeat prescriptions are now sent to the pharmacy of your choice for collection in two to three working days. I am aware, however, that not everyone uses computers, tablets, smartphones or other clever devices but it is the way the world is spinning and more and more of us use one or other of these. This service does enable you to do things at a time convenient to you without having to wait for a phone to be answered or visit a congested surgery.
The Council’s financial cuts have made social care provision difficult but in Harrow we have pilot schemes in place for integrated care services by the Council and NHS for people with several long-term conditions. You may read about this under the title of Whole Systems Integrated Care, which is the start of joining up health and social care provision.
Now, what about changes at Northwick Park hospital? The additional and refurbished operating theatres were completed a couple of years ago and last December the new emergency department A&E unit took over from the existing facilities. It’s a pleasant light and airy building with a tranquil atmosphere despite treating some 600 people a day. It’s not meeting the national performance target of treating 95% of patients within four hours but this is mainly due to the lack of available beds for patients needing hospitalisation, causing them to remain in A&E while this is sorted out. A new ward block of 106 additional beds is under construction and planned to be available in December 2015, which will enable improvement of A&E’s performance.
The Change in the NHS Trust responsible for running Northwick Park was completed in October 2014 with the merger of North West London Hospitals Trust and Ealing Hospitals Trust into the new organisation known as North West Healthcare Trust [LNWHT] which is the name you’ll find on all signage now. This merger will enable better clinical services for patients even if, in a few cases, it involves travelling a little further for treatment. The closure of the maternity unit at Ealing Hospital on 1July 2015 was successful without overloading any of the alternative units in North West London including Northwick Park.
There is a great deal of work going on to improve healthcare for all in Harrow and the surrounding North West London area. You’ll find that your local surgery will be taking advantage of support from the central NHS to extend it where possible to provide more services. This is part of the redesign of community care to enable new ways of delivering care to make it possible for extended group practices to form – either as federations, networks or single organisations – Multispecialty Community Providers (MCPs) to become the focal point for a far wider range of care needed by their registered patients.
Some contacts for more information:
NHS Harrow CCG: www.harrowccg.nhs.uk
NHS England: www.england.nhs.uk
HealthWatch: Harrow www.healthwatchharrow.co.uk
HealthWatch England: www.healthwatch.co.uk
London Borough of Harrow: www.harrow.gov.uk
Northwick Park Hospital: www.lnwh.nhs.uk
Elliot Hall Medical Centre: www.ehmc.co.uk
Hatch End Medical Centre: www.hatchendmc.co.uk