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Issue:17/18 March 2010

NHS leaders pledge faster, better healthcare

NHS organisations across north Sefton and West Lancashire have unveiled proposals to ensure that local people benefit from faster, better health care.  NHS Central Lancashire, NHS Sefton and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust have agreed in principle to create a new organisation which will see real partnership and the bringing together of services from primary care and hospital that are currently separate. 

A number of options have been considered, and local NHS leaders believe that the creation of an integrated care organisation (ICO) is the way forward. They see the proposed ICO as an opportunity to improve patients' experience of health services and, where appropriate, offer treatment closer to home or in the home.  A programme of detailed discussions and engagement with NHS staff, stakeholders, patients and the public is being planned before a final decision is made.

The initial proposals are supported by clinical leaders.

Dr Geraldine Boocock, medical director at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said:- "We believe that creating an integrated care organisation will give people better continuity of care, as clinical teams will work between the hospital and the community.  Organisational barriers will be removed, so patients will get faster access to treatment. And we will be able to focus together on some of the serious health problems that people in our area live with, such as diabetes and heart disease."

Staff too will benefit from sharing established good practice from one area to another. A number of new career pathways and job roles are anticipated as new ways are developed to meet patients' needs. 

The next step is for initial proposals to be submitted to NHS North West, the regional strategic health authority, by Friday 12 March, 2010. If there is approval in principle, a period of discussion and engagement with NHS staff, stakeholders, patients and the public will begin, before a final decision is made.

In a joint statement, the chief executives of the three trusts, Joe Rafferty (NHS Central Lancashire), Leigh Griffin (NHS Sefton) and Jonathan Parry (Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust) said:- "This is an exciting development aimed at creating a more seamless, productive and efficient service that ensures financial resources continue to be targeted at patients.  We are planning to create an organisation that is large enough to stand on its own, and provide high quality local services."

 Britain’s ballot box virgins cast their vote

THE 3 E’s will determine the vote for Britain’s first timers according to a new poll.  Research by independent education foundation Edge reveals education is an important election issue for the country’s 18-22 year olds, followed by employment, the economy and health and social care.

Reflecting widely-held concerns in the current recession, 44% of young people say they believe education is more important now than it was at the last election.  Fresh out of school themselves, 38% say they don’t think education in this country works well. If they were in charge, various changes would be made - 78% would introduce more practical and vocational learning, 74% increased work-based options, and 71% a broader curriculum.

The findings by Edge are revealed ahead of the launch of the first ever election broadcast generated completely by the public at the House of Commons on Tuesday 16 March. The broadcast gives the public, including young people, a voice on the changes they would like make to the education system including more practical and vocational learning.  74% of first time voters say the government should ensure there are enough university places to accommodate the number of people who want to go to there. 

As far as Britain’s virgin voters are concerned, Labour and Conservative are neck and neck both scoring 16% on who has the best education policy. Perhaps more telling is that 43% of young people don't know if there are significant differences in the main parties' education policies, suggesting that the parties are failing to get their messages across to first-time voters.

Chairman of Edge, Lord Baker, commented:- “Edge has provided a platform for the public to have their say via all methods of communication from Twitter to video messages. The outcome is the first ever election broadcast generated completely by the public.  The time is right for the next Government to make sure the current system helps all young people realise their individual talents. They must be able to recognise the many paths to success that come from a high quality education combining academic, practical and vocational learning.”

Edge is inviting the general public teachers, parents and young people, to watch the broadcast ahead of this year’s general election at:- and to have their say.

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