PLANS for the future vision of healthcare have been outlined at a public meeting.
From April 2013, Primary Care Trusts will be replaced by GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) responsible for commissioning health services.
A meeting was held in Hartlepool to give residents the opportunity to hear the vision for the future.
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Around 60 people heard Dr Boleslaw Posmyk, chairman of the Hartlepool Locality Commissioning Group, outline the future strategy.
The GP-led group is expected to have a budget of about £130m.
Dr Posmyk said: “We really want to improve Hartlepool’s health levels to the levels of other areas of the country.
“Hartlepool has a big variation.
“People from lower social demographic areas have worse health outcomes than other areas of town and we want to right that wrong.
“It is about reducing the gap.”
Dr Posmyk said having GPs at the heart of the new system provides the “best possible hope for good health outcomes” and added the GPs on the local group had been serving Hartlepool communities for 30 years.
He said they have outlined key issues including supporting initiatives to address issues of particular concern such as stopping smoking, promoting safe, sensible drinking and increasing physical activity.
Also, helping people identify sooner if they are at risk of caridovascular disease, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, improving access to care and treatment and supporting people in old age and with long-term health conditions to live independent.
Dr Posmyk said it is about keeping people in the community and in their homes for longer.
He said: “The changes that people will hopefully see is the quality of outcomes improving with people living longer and leading healthier lives with care as close to the home as possible.”
Dr Posmyk added that it would be an “evolutionary” process with more joined up services.
Hartlepool CCG is accountable to the national commissioning board.
There is an over arching Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, but each town has its own locality commissioning group.
Dr Posmyk is chairman of the Hartlepool CCG, Doctor Mike Smith is vice-chairman and other GPs include Kai Sander, Charles Brash, Mick Timlin and Paul Pagni.
There is also representation from practice managers, Hartlepool LINk, and public health and council officials.
As part of the phased transformation each CCG locality has to produce a strategy, known as a Clear and Credible Plan, and the meeting was a chance for Hartlepool residents to have their say.
In November last year, Hartlepool CCG, in partnership with other local pathfinder, carried out a survey in order to develop its plan.
The public meeting was a chance to test out the draft plan with patients, the public and stakeholders.
There was also an opportunity for group discussions and the chance to ask questions at the session held at the Hartlepool Maritime Experience, off Maritime Avenue, in Hartlepool.
Dr Posmyk, said it is “essential” that the Clear and Credible Plan reflects the views and needs of local people.