Horsham Hospital could become a regional hub for musculo-skeletal treatment under changes to the health service.
Simon Dean, locality chair for Horsham, will spearhead changes in the National Health Service through the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Horsham and Mid Sussex, which will cover 23 general practices.
He is a partner at Park Surgery off Albion Way and has lived in Horsham for the past 25 years.
Through the 2012 Health and Social Care Act powers to commission services will be in the hands of the CCGs, following the abolition of strategic health authorities and primary care trusts next year.
While it may make sense to move some services to Crawley in the shake-up, Dr Dean said he wanted to make much better use of Horsham Hospital in Hurst Road.
These new services could include pain management, rheumatology, physiotherapy and some orthopaedics.
“I’m very keen to use the resources at Horsham Hospital. It’s a great building, it’s very functional, and I’d like to see it used to its full potential,” he explained.
“We will make sure all the services largely stay, but there may be some changes that have to be made.”
Crawley has its own CCG, while parts of the Horsham district near the South Downs will belong to the Coastal West Sussex CCG.
While media attention on the NHS changes has focused on privatisation, Dr Dean said he understood people’s concerns, but he would commission NHS services wherever possible.
“Personally I would like all services to stay provided by NHS providers, and we have an example of how we have managed to achieve that in our community nursing services in the district,” he said.
“The NHS is a fantastic service and I want it to continue to be the best service in the world, but it’s got some chronic inefficiencies.”
Funding to the NHS, while increasing at about two per cent a year, is short of the medical inflation that runs around seven per cent, meaning around five per cent savings are needed.
This may be achieved through better join-up of clinical services offered to patients.
Other big changes included NHS Direct being replaced by 111 in March 2013, which he hopes will lead to a more structured approach between self-help and ambulance services.
Dr Dean added: “I do not see the NHS falling apart or crumbling.”
Understanding why patients are being treated where could hold the key to efficiency savings within the health service, according to the man tasked with delivering services in Horsham from 2013.
Simon Dean, locality chair for Horsham within the Clinical Commissioning Group for Horsham and Mid Sussex, said better join-up of clinical care of patients could delivery the efficiency savings needed.
“It’s about clinical join-up, having systems in place in the community to better manage patients so we are not clogging up hospital services,” he said.
“What can we do more of in general practice? What patients do we need to refer to hospitals? When they are in hospital how can we manage it so they do not need to spent longer than necessary in hospital?”
He added: “We would like patients to be in hospital when they need to be in hospital.
“When it’s clinically appropriate and safe we would rather they were in the community. If they need to be in hospital they need to be in hospital.”
He pointed at the good work done in the community with the health and wellbeing hub, as a way to join up the NHS and voluntary organisations, and invited patients to join their GP surgery’s patient reference group to input into the changes.
Addressing recent cases of a postcode lottery for some health services, he said: “It’s not always going to be possible, but we are aware of it and we do want to avoid it.
“Personally I would like to see services provided across the UK being of the highest quality for everybody.”