Views sought on new health care proposals

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Residents are being invited to attend a series of events outlining the ambitious vision for health and care services in Northumberland.

The engagement sessions, supported by Healthwatch Northumberland, will give the opportunity to find out more about the new integrated accountable care organisation (ACO) for Northumberland.

Sessions will be held on Thursday, January 12, at Blyth Community Enterprise Centre from 10am to noon, and at Northumberland CVA, Ashington, from 2pm to 4pm.

Among the key challenges are increasing focus on prevention, improve the quality and safety of care, and improve the efficiency of how services are run.

In addition to the vanguard programme, the draft sustainability and transformation plan (STP) for ‘Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and North Durham’, which was published at the start of November, has also been developed in partnership by local NHS leaders in response to the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Cynthia Atkin, chair of Healthwatch Northumberland, said: “It is important that people understand more about the accountable care organisation for Northumberland and how this fits with the draft sustainability and transformation plan.

“We very much welcome these engagement events and the opportunity for Healthwatch to be involved. The work which has been taking place as part of the vanguard programme has been fantastic and it is making sure that, as a county, our health and care services are once again at the forefront.”

The ACO for Northumberland is set to become operational from April 2017, the first in the NHS.

It brings together both providers and commissioners of local NHS services as well as Northumberland County Council, helping to maximise the opportunities for an integrated approach across NHS services, social care and public health.

To read more about the draft STP for ‘Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and North Durham’ and give your thoughts by January 20, visit www.northumberlandccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/stp