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Bid to expand health services in south east Essex wins praise from NHS chief

19 November 2013

Health Care

A pledge, backed by passion and partnership, to make seven day health and social care services in south east Essex a reality, has won praise from NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh.

At a national event in Birmingham, Sir Bruce, NHS medical director, announced that a bid from Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group, and NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group, was one of just 13 national early adopter schemes which will drive forward seven day services and showcase good practice to the rest of the country.

The joint south east Essex scheme will focus initially on providing round the clock seamless care for frail elderly and deteriorating patients.

Sir Bruce praised the joint bid, entitled: Seven Day Services In South East Essex: The Time To Change Is Now, for its "obvious levels of commitment and enthusiasm" and drew attention to the "highly successful integrated working already in evidence across the whole health economy in south east Essex".

Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Evidence shows that the limited availability of some services at weekends can have a detrimental impact on outcomes for patients, including raising the risk of mortality. In south east Essex we are committed to offering a much more patient-focused service and part of this commitment is in moving towards routine health and social care services being made available seven days a week.

"We are already seen as seven day leaders in fields such as acute stroke care and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and by working together we have made significant and innovative changes to our services, leading to social workers providing seven day services to wards and consultant ward rounds seven days a week.

"We now have a vision where all health, social, community and voluntary services are fully integrated, within and across organisations, because we want to provide the best care in the most appropriate setting, regardless of time of day or day of the week."

The event on Saturday (Nov 16), organised by NHS England and NHS Improving Quality, aimed to share the views and ideas of public, patients, carers, health and social care staff on how to improve access to services for patients across the seven day week.

From 90 original applications the south east Essex bid made it through to the last 16, before being the first of the 13 winners announced.

Rob Tinlin, chief executive of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: "Southend Council and Southend Hospital have a strong working relationships built up over a number of years and we see this as the bedrock for the continuing work of improving seven day services.

Dr Sunil Gupta, clinical accountable officer for NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG said: "Through our work as an early adopter we will reform our services to ensure our patients, their carers and families, always feel supported and cared for, no matter where they are or what day of the week it is."

The news comes just two weeks after Norman Lamb, Care Minister, announced Southend as one of fourteen areas in the country that are leading the way in delivering better joined up care.

Dr Paul Husselbee, clinical chief officer for NHS Southend CCG, said: "The success of the joint south east Essex bid is further evidence of the tremendous progress we have been making in joining up and improving our services for all."