Monthly Archives: June 2017

Alliance led by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust awarded the contract for new Thames Valley 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service ‘The new front door to urgent care’

Patients across the Thames Valley will be opening a new front door to urgent care services from September 2017.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) has been awarded the contract for the new Thames Valley 111 telephone service by the 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the Thames Valley. SCAS leads an alliance set up to deliver the service, which also includes Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The alliance brings together the relevant skills and expertise from local NHS providers needed for patients to access a wide range of medical disciplines.

Thames Valley 111 will now offer patients a seamless 24/7 urgent clinical assessment and treatment service – bringing together NHS 111, GP out of hours and other clinical advice, such as dental, medicines and mental health.

A team of clinicians will be available on the phone when needed, and will be linked into a new NHS Clinical Hub – a group of healthcare professionals who can help get patients the right care, at the right time, in the right location.

A thorough and rigorous procurement process took place involving clinicians, specialists and NHS managers from across the Thames Valley in the decision-making.

The focus was on selecting a provider which will work across all CCGs to support the development of an integrated 24/7 care service on a local basis.

Sam Burrows, the senior responsible officer for the procurement process, said: “We are pleased to announce that the Thames Valley 111 Partnership, led by SCAS, has been awarded the contract. This is an exciting time and one which is going to improve patients’ experience by getting people to appropriate care more efficiently by this integration of urgent care services.

“We undertook a comprehensive procurement process, which included engaging with clinicians, patients and members of the public to identify issues, address them and design a new integrated urgent care service which will revolutionise the experience for those calling 111. The Thames Valley region will be an early adopter of this new approach which will be rolled out throughout England by 2020.

“During the summer of 2015 the 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley undertook widespread public engagement with key stakeholders, as well as a review of feedback from existing users of the current 111. This gave us a picture of patient experiences and desired improvements to NHS 111, as well as gaining an understanding of public knowledge of urgent care services.

“I would like to thank all those local residents, stakeholders and clinicians who took the time to give their views and feedback during the engagement process. Your valuable contribution will help shape this integrated service and confirms our commitment to ensuring that patients are at the heart of the services we commission.”

Philip Astle, Chief Operating Officer at SCAS, said “We are delighted to be at the heart of these exciting developments of the NHS 111 in the Thames Valley. SCAS has a strong track record of working with healthcare partners to deliver outstanding care to the people of the Thames Valley, and this transformation of NHS 111 will enable us to build on that record.”

A detailed mobilisation plan is now being implemented; working towards the launch in September 2017.

The national Commissioning Standards for Integrated Urgent Care published in 2015, describe an ambitious model of care for the future in support of the Urgent and Emergency Care Review. Commissioners across Thames Valley are committed to delivering a regional service that meets the full potential of these standards.


Note to editors
The Senior Responsible Officer on behalf of the 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley, Sam Burrows (Director of Strategy, Berkshire West CCGs), and Philip Astle (Chief Operating Officer) from SCAS are available for interview. To arrange please email

(1) The 10 CCGs in the Thames Valley are:

  • Aylesbury Vale
  • Bracknell and Ascot
  • Chiltern
  • Newbury & District
  • North & West Reading
  • Oxfordshire
  • Slough
  • South Reading
  • Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead
  • Wokingham

(2)   The SCAS alliance comprises the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

If you are interested in your local NHS then our roadshow can come to you!

Over the coming months the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Buckinghamshire are keen to speak to people about local developments in healthcare and community based services and what they will mean for you.

Accountable Officer Lou Patten of NHS Aylesbury Vale CCGs said: “We are increasingly working more collaboratively with our partners, including Buckinghamshire County Council and NHS providers to improve the quality of healthcare services for local people.

“We are making significant investments to ensure people receive care closer to their home and are joining up GP, community, mental health, hospital and social care services to help our communities live healthier and more independent lives.

“We would really like the opportunity to speak with community groups and come to one of your meetings to hear from your members and if you think any changes in community healthcare services are needed.”

If you are part of a community group and would like the NHS to be including on one of your meeting agenda as part of a roadshow of events then please reply to or through Twitter @bucksccgs with details of potential meetings dates.

Buckinghamshire becomes part of new system to improve local health and care

Leaders across the health and social care system in Buckinghamshire have welcomed the announcement from NHS England that Buckinghamshire will be part of the first wave of Accountable Care Systems being created around the country to deliver improvements to local health and care.

Martin Tett, Chair of the Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board and Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said:

“We are delighted that Buckinghamshire has been designated as one of the first Accountable Care Systems in the country. This is testament to the work partners are doing together to deliver better, safer and more joined up health and care for the local communities we serve.

“Our NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS providers and the council already have a great track record of collaborating to improve the quality of services for local people, such as the significant investments we’re making to expand and redesign out-of-hospital care, including the community hubs pilots in Marlow and Thame and our joint teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, ambulance staff and care professionals providing support to older people in their own homes.

“We’re making great progress in joining up GP, community, mental health, hospital and social care services and in helping our communities live healthier and more independent lives. Leading the way as one of the first Accountable Care Systems will give us greater control, freedom and added pace to our shared work, for example by providing more care closer to home to reduce length of stay in hospital, GPs and mental health teams working alongside hospital teams in A&E, and simplifying/streamlining care for people with long term conditions such as diabetes.”

The partners involved in the Buckinghamshire Accountable Care System are NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire County Council, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, FedBucks and South Central Ambulance Service.

Below is the announcement on Accountable Care Systems made by NHS England on Thursday, 15 June 2017

The head of NHS England will today (Thursday 15 June) pledge to end the “fractured” health and social care system that leaves too many patients “passed from pillar to post” by giving local leaders and communities more control over how they improve health and social care.

Addressing the NHS Confederation in Liverpool, Simon Stevens said: “As the NHS approaches its 70th Birthday, we are now embarked on the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country. For patients this means better joined up services in place of what has often been a fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post.”

He announced nine areas in England – covering some seven million people – which will be the forefront of nationwide action to provide joined up, better coordinated care breaking down the barriers between GPs and hospitals, physical and mental healthcare, social care and the NHS.

Eight ‘accountable care systems’ (ACSs) willbring together local NHS organisations, often in partnership with social care services and the voluntary sector. They build on the learning from and early results of NHS England’s new care model ‘vanguards’, which are slowing emergency hospitalisations growth by up to two thirds compared with other less integrated parts of the country.

The first group of designated ACSs have agreed with national leaders to deliver fast track improvements set out in Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View, including taking the strain off A&E, investing in general practice making it easier to get a GP appointment, and improving access to high quality cancer and mental health services.

These areas will also lead the way in taking more control over funding available to support transformation programmes – with the combined indicative potential to control around £450m of funding over the next four years – matched by accountability for improving the health and wellbeing of the populations they cover. NHS national bodies will provide these areas with more freedom to make decisions over how the health system in their area operates.

The announcement also includes a new devolution agreement in Surrey Heartlands, similar to the existing one in Greater Manchester. This agreement will bring together the NHS locally with Surrey County Council to integrate health and social care services and give local leaders and clinicians more control over services and funding.

The eight accountable care systems are:

  • Frimley Health including Slough, Surrey Heath and Aldershot
  • South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, covering Barnsley, Bassetlew, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield
  • Nottinghamshire, with an early focus on Greater Nottingham and Rushcliffe
  • Blackpool & Fylde Coast with the potential to spread to other parts of the Lancashire and South Cumbria at a later stage
  • Dorset
  • Luton, with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire West, covering Reading, Newbury and Wokingham
  • Buckinghamshire

In addition, it is expected that West, North and East Cumbria and Northumberland could join the group of accountable care systems later in the year.

The announcement came as NHS England Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh told the conference: “We need to heal fractures between services and tear down those administrative, financial, philosophical and practical barriers to the kinds of services our patients want us to deliver. To get there, we must replace the fear of change with convincing arguments for the future – or I for one worry that risk weakening our greatest social asset through inaction or fatigue.”

Helping to explain what integrated care means for patients and staff, the NHS today released a web film ( in which Jennifer Eaton from Weymouth, whose partner Denis has pulmonary fibrosis, describes its impact. She says: “Immediately things started to improve and we feel as if people care now – and we have help.”

Dr Karen Kirkham, a GP and clinical leader in Dorset, said: “I couldn’t and wouldn’t go back to what we had before. The teams were completely separate. Health teams completely separate from social care teams – and that meant that nobody talked to each other and nobody joined up care, but also that there was no collaborative working really at all within the system.”

Tom Gentry from Age UK says: “Integrated care is more than just a buzz word – it’s a way of working. It’s how the NHS should operate because when you are dealing with people with long-term conditions, multiple long-term conditions, old people with frailty, they cannot afford the service to be disjointed.”

Don’t risk your health by missing cervical cancer screening test


Not enough young women in Buckinghamshire are going for their cervical cancer screening – and because of that, some are risking their lives by being diagnosed with the disease too late.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 but is largely preventable. NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups are encouraging women to make sure they get screened regularly to give themselves the best chance of living a long and healthy life.
Every day 9 women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women will lose their lives to the disease.
But, statistics show that women aged 25-29 are the least likely to attend for screening of any age group and numbers are falling year on year. Surveys undertaken by cancer charities suggest embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind these falling numbers.
In Buckinghamshire alone, around 24,000 eligible women aged 25-49 have not gone for screening in the last three years.
Dr Raj Thakkar, Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care, said: “Too many young women are missing out on their cervical screening test – and unfortunately it puts some of them at needless risk of developing cervical cancer. It is absolutely essential for them to have this quick, simple, potentially life-saving, test.
“The early warning signs of cervical cancer are very hard to detect yourself, so it is vital that women don’t wait until they notice symptoms before booking their screening. The test, which is usually carried out by a practice nurse, is quick and simple to perform. The test comes back normal 95% of the time and the vast majority of abnormal cases, if picked up early, can be treated easily and will never develop into cancer.”
So if you have received an invitation for screening, have missed your smear or are due to be screened, please get in touch with your GP surgery to arrange an appointment – it may well save your life.
For more information about cervical cancer screening, visit NHS Choices or the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity.