No options off the table as NHS commissioners decide to proceed to next stage of decision making process

NHS health commissioners from Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire met in public today to consider the next steps in determining the future of local health services.

The governing bodies of the two CCGs met in common to give conscientious consideration to the findings of the 14-week consultation that began last December.

Since the consultation concluded on March 17 the responses have been independently analysed and every comment has been read so that key themes and concerns could be established.

The meeting was told that during the consultation 76 events were held attended by 1,340 people. Other people participated through public events, focus groups, via online and paper surveys and postcards.

They were also told about steps taken to consult with people with protected characteristics, and there was assurance given about engagement with organisations such as Healthwatch and with local authorities.

The members did not make a final decision on the reshaping of services when they met at the Best Western Moat House Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent.

They did agree the options to take forward to a Decision Making Business Case (DMBC), which is the next stage of process working with NHS England and NHS Improvement. There will also be scrutiny from the West Midlands Clinical Senate.

The recommendations involve developing a new model of care and the location of four Integrated Care Hubs across the area.

They also discussed looking at community hospital beds and NHS beds in care homes. The final decision was around consultant led outpatient clinics.

It was decided to proceed with the Decision Making Business Case with none of the options consulted upon being taken off the table at this point.

Dr Lorna Clarson, who is CCG Clinical Director for Partnerships and Engagement said: “Every effort was made to engage with all sections of the community who use these services. The consultation was certified as good practice by the Consultation Institute.

“Some clear themes emerged, with access and transportation really standing out, as well as the safety and quality of NHS beds in care homes.

“The governing bodies felt that at this stage we can proceed but without ruling out any of the options that were consulted upon as they all remain viable. This will allow extra work to be done. We would like to emphasise that this is not the end of us listening to the views of local people.”

The papers for the meeting including the Report of Findings can be downloaded from the CCGs’ websites and