Patients in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being asked for their views on the future of healthcare services.
The six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent want the views of the patients across the area as they plan services for the future.
Altogether the six CCGs commission over 800 different services and treatments, but availability of these varies across the area.
Together they have been spending around £2 million more per week than they receive, and that means some difficult decisions now need to be made.
That is why they are now asking people for their experiences of five different treatments for which access is different across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. The CCGs want to understand the real impact these treatments have on people’s lives before deciding how they should be provided across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in the future.
Surveys will be available to complete online from Monday 6 January until Sunday 1 March. Paper versions will also be available upon request.
Dr Lorna Clarson, a GP and Clinical Director for Partnerships and Engagement, said: “We want the treatments that we commission for our patients to be those that clinical research shows are most effective. We also want to end the postcode lottery that currently exists and offer the same services to patients regardless of where they live within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
The five areas are:
Last year a total of 216 cycles of IVF (the most common form of assisted conception) were completed. The level of service differs depending on where in Staffordshire or Stoke-on-Trent people live, with differences including the age range in which patients are eligible to receive IVF, and the number of cycles that will be funded.
Hearing loss in adults
Where hearing loss cannot be treated with medication or surgery, hearing aids are the most common treatment. Patients in North Staffordshire do not currently automatically qualify for hearing aids if their hearing loss is mild or moderate. South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Group East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
Removal of excess skin following significant weight loss
There are various surgical methods of removing excess skin following weight loss. Demand is expected to rise because of the increase in the number who need to lose weight, with provision varying widely.
Breast augmentation and reconstruction
All the CCGs fund reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy carried out due to suspected or proven cancer. However, there are a number of other reasons why breast surgery may be carried out and availability of NHS funding for these varies across the area.
Male and female sterilisation
There are a number of different procedures that can be carried out which amount to a permanent form of contraception. There are currently no restrictions in place on NHS funding for these operations across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, despite a lack of research evidence about the long-term benefits for patients.
The surveys are available on the CCGs’ websites from now until Sunday 1 March and people can complete a survey for one or as many of the five conditions as they would like to. A number of local face-to-face events will be announced shortly.