Fears Blackpool will miss out in NHS shake up

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Fears have been raised Blackpool could miss out on NHS resources after the body which oversaw GP services in the town was replaced by a much bigger NHS organisation.

Since July clinical commissioning groups, including the Blackpool CCG, have been absorbed into new integrated care systems with Blackpool now part of the wider Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS).

It is hoped the shake-up will provide more joined up care because partners include the NHS and local authorities, including Blackpool Council, which are responsible for adult social care and public health functions.

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But members of Blackpool Council's Adult Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee were dismayed when officers from the new ICS did not attend their first meeting since the changeover.

NHS shake upNHS shake up
NHS shake up

Coun Michele Scott told a meeting of the committee: "We have lost the CCG which we had a good working relationship with and those links have been broken.

"And from what we see today, nobody wants to come tonight to speak to us and answer our questions.

"Looking at the map (showing the area covered by the ICS), Blackpool is a tiny dot on that map.

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"How much of a say will we have, how much funding and how will our concerns be listened to, particularly through this massive partnership? I have no reassurances at all."

Karen Smith, director of adult services at Blackpool Council, who is also a director of the Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS, made a presentation to the committee in place of other representatives who had been due to attend.

She said: "There is a real intention to move some resources from the NHS into social care and areas that will have a real impact on wider health.

"Some resources will be divvied up by head of population, and by who is delivering on the business case.

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"We are absolutely committed to making sure the resources are right for the people of Blackpool."

The Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS has been formally in place since July, after operating in shadow form, and has replaced eight CCGs.

An Integrated Care Board (ICB) has also been established to take over NHS commissioning functions in the region including Blackpool.

The organisation says it is committed to working alongside councillors to ensure Blackpool’s health needs are met.

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A spokesperson for Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB said: “Karen Smith is a member of the executive leadership team of NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB as Director for Health and Care Integration for Blackpool, reporting into the ICB chief executive, and presented an ICB update presentation to the committee in this role.

“Karen’s role has been put in place through collaboration with local authority partners and provides a real opportunity to make a significant difference to improving the health and wellbeing of our population in Blackpool.

“We are committed to working with Blackpool Council’s Adult Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee. We will be attending their next formal meeting and are in the process of scheduling further meetings to ensure this engagement is consistent."