CATCH (Cambridgeshire Association to Commission Health Care)
Patient Involvement Group – Update
Members agreed that as patients they wish to be copied in to any letters about them; e.g. sent from hospital to their GP, which is often not done. A CATCH sub-group is already addressing issues of communication, and hospital discharge. It has found that the Dispensary is a cause of delays in discharge.
The CATCH 6-month ‘pilot’ Medihome Service started on 1st September, providing acute nursing care at home for those over 65 years, for up to 2 weeks. CATCH has commissioned 10 ‘virtual’ beds, which prevents hospital admission, the financial saving covering the cost. The patient’s GP remains in overall charge. A similar model has worked well in Australia with a significant reduction in costs.
The new CATCH ‘Acute Geriatric Intervention Service’ (AGIS) provides a multi-disciplinary team which visits vulnerable, elderly patients following a fall. A collaboration between the Ambulance Trust and Cambridgeshire Community Services, GPs and 999 can refer to AGIS, and in turn AGIS can refer to Medihome. All GPs now have the contact numbers of these services.
CATCH has recruited 5 Care Co-ordinators covering its 28 practices, whose role is to co-ordinate the multi-disciplinary teams looking after patients. This is to take the administrative burden off GPs and medical staff.
Training is being offered to reception staff on how to deal with patients who are mentally distressed. Work is going on around a re-design of older people’s services, and this has gone out to tender.
It was explained that the contract for district nurses is for them to provide community care to house-bound patients only; they do not provide cover for practice nurses. However, CATCH is trying to improve the contract for district nurses in order to broaden their role.
When deemed to be clinically safe the new 111 service, replacing NHS Direct, will be launched during November. Run by ‘Herts Urgent Care’, a not-for-profit organisation; the Cambs call centre is Peterborough-based with Cambridge in the first phase. It will be the access point for urgent care, open 24/7 and free for calls from landlines and mobile phones. During opening hours the number to call is the patient’s GP surgery. Emergency care will continue to be provided by ringing 999; any calls to previous numbers will for now be automatically diverted to 111. The call handlers receive 200 hours of training and are fully assessed, with some handlers specially trained to deal with mental illness. Health professionals have a special line for direct access.
To avoid problems with obtaining prescriptions at night, special ‘bags’ are being introduced; these will contain prescription drugs which may be needed during the night by palliative care patients who are being nursed at home during their last days.
The CATCH Patient Involvement Group has now been running for six months. Members feel that CATCH appreciates and values the role and importance of the group, listening to and following up on comments and views. However, the mechanism for these to be taken forward to the Board of the overall Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group (CCG) is not working well and the CATCH chair, a GP who attends most Patient Involvement Group meetings, will raise this with the CCG.
Fulbourn Health Centre rep