Sending more patients to pharmacies and reviewing the future of a hospital unit are among Sheffield health chiefs’ plans for the next year.
The NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group has published its annual ‘commissioning intentions’ report, which sets out how the body’s £694 million budget will be spent in 2014-15.
Health leaders want to cut emergency hospital admissions by 20 per cent and A&E attendances by up to 40 per cent over the next five years by offering more community services, saving £28m.
The report says the CCG wants to make ‘faster progress’ in changing the way health services are offered.
“We intend to further explore the potential pharmacy has to provide services that will contribute more to our plans for out-of-hospital care,” the document says.
Pharmacists could provide a ‘broader range’ of clinical and public health services, play a bigger role in managing patients with long-term conditions, and work more closely with GPs.
Sheffield chemists have already signed up for a scheme called Healthy Living Pharmacies, in which staff offer advice and meet targets on issues such as smoking, healthy eating and alcohol.
An ‘urgent primary care centre’, announced last year, will soon be piloted at the Northern General Hospital to reduce the strain on A&E.
But if the centre is made permanent, bosses will need to ‘take into account the future’ of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s minor injuries unit, which opened after Sheffield’s second A&E closed controversially 20 years ago.
Setting up an urgent care centre at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is also being considered and training is being developed for GPs to make them more confident in treating youngsters.
Care plans will be offered to 15,000 people with long-term illnesses and dermatology and minor surgery services will be reviewed.
The CCG is also proposing to draw up a pooled health budget with Sheffield Council from 2015.