‘WE will fight your corner for the cardiac rehab service’ said a chief officer of the clinical group heading Uttoxeter after admitting mistakes had been made.
Sarah Laing, the chief operating officer for East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), met with members of the Uttoxeter and District Forum 50 Plus to discuss how the organisation was working to help residents and how people can get more involved.
At the meeting it was revealed that discussions are under way with Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has been asked to put together a proposal for the rehabilitation service in Uttoxeter.
The trust currently provides the service across East Staffordshire but misses out the town so is now looking at ways to it can role it out.
The service was pulled from Uttoxeter earlier this year after the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust did not renew the contract.
The two organisations are set to meet this week to discuss where they are up to with the proposal and how they will be able to staff it.
Mrs Laing told the group that after discovering the service was being delivered more efficiently in other parts of the country and was not meeting current NICE guidelines that the changes had to be made.
She said: “We got a lot of evidence on where we were doing things well, where we were doing things bad and where we can improve.
“In areas such as diabetes, heart failure and respiratory problems we did not do things as well. We had little pockets of brilliant services but there was people not being seen at all.
“We have to divide the service across the whole area. We all voted for something different and we had to give notice to the current provider.
“The plan is to do something very different in the future for long term conditions and care outside the hospital.
“We are looking for services to come to you in Uttoxeter in some shape or form but we don’t know how that will look yet.”
It was explained that the service was not meeting NICE guidelines so notice had to be given to the former provider – but this was before a new agreement had been reached.
However, the company set up to take on the service pulled out a week before the contract was to be signed.
Former Uttoxeter MP Janet Dean said: “We are lucky we have seen movement of services already and one of those things was the heart rehab.
“That was actually happening here.
“I understand that you have to give notice to staff but I don’t understand stopping a service before putting something else in place.
“It is not a long term condition like diabetes.”
Mrs Laing said this had proved a major problem for the CCG.
She said: “We didn’t want to stop the service or pull it out of Uttoxeter as we want it to continue. It was the service provider saying it did not want to do it in Uttoxeter as it was not financially viable.
“We really are fighting the corner and we really want to keep that going.”
The CCG is made up of a group of GPs covering East Staffordshire, along with officers, who took on the role around a year ago.
Mrs Laing said they had made some mistakes along the way but they were working hard with the little funding they had – which was £9 million short for the year – to find a cost effective way to deliver services.
Other areas they are looking at include follow-up appointments and providing more services out of hospitals with talks on reintroducing cottage hospitals and a key aim to encourage ‘providers to be more efficient’.
Now the service is encouraging residents to make their voices heard and have a say on services which affect them as well as areas they would like to see be changed.