Town pilots new health service scheme

Dr Alistair Blair, lead GP for Northumberland Commissioning Group.
Dr Alistair Blair, lead GP for Northumberland Commissioning Group.

A NEW health service will be piloted in Morpeth as part of a 12-month plan.

The Northumberland Locality Delivery Plan sets out the budget for health spending in the county over the next year, with a focus on reducing unplanned hospital admissions and improving care closer to home.

Schemes will also be included to tackle obesity and reduce drug and alcohol misuse, while there will be a countywide roll-out of an end of life programme to support patients who wish to die at home.

And in Morpeth and Ashington there will be a trial of screening patients at high risk of osteoporosis.

Morpeth doctor Alistair Blair, who is lead GP of the Northumberland Commissioning Group, said: “Through the pilot, if we can reduce the number of fractures, which can have a major impact on people’s lives, we can also achieve savings across the health economy.

“We will also be providing more support across the county for people with alcohol related problems.

“Our thinking is that doing the right thing for patients is usually the right thing clinically, and also the right thing financially.”

The delivery plan has been drawn up jointly by the Northumberland Care Trust and the Northumberland Commissioning Group as the emerging GP consortium.

Together they are responsible for commissioning health services for a population of 323,000, with a total budget of £444m.

The plan has been approved by NHS North of Tyne.