Following on from our previous feature on North West London NHS Funding Gap and Cuts, this week we look at the picture in South West London.
This area includes Wandsworth, home of The Smart Clinics in South London. In NHS terms, it includes 6 local authorities and corresponding CCGs (clinical commissioning groups): Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.
Strategies have been published as to how each region will make services fit for the needs of the 21st century. In practice, this also shows how each region plans to meet funding gaps and highlights which services are under threat.
The South West London region is projected to have a £828 million funding gap by 2020-21 if nothing is done.
BBC Health have analysed the plan and summarise its findings:
“The plan says five acute sites are not sustainable and proposes focusing acute services at four sites, although it plans to continue running five hospitals in total. The aim is for more services to be provided in the community through primary and community care and through a close relationship with local authority social care services.
“It will cut down on the number of unnecessary outpatient appointments and make it easier to see a GP by making more appointments available between 08:00 and 20:00. It will set up “locality teams” in each area made up of GPs, nurses, pharmacists, social care staff, mental health and other health professionals to work closely with local hospital clinicians. It says if the number of acute hospitals is reduced, it is possible some people will have to travel further for care.”
Full NHS report: SWL Five Year Forward Plan
The scale of the forecast funding gap means that action must be taken, but with an ageing population there are concerns that the cut backs will affect the quality of patient care.
Hugh Alderwick, from the King’s Fund comments on the published plans:
“All the plans talk about better integrating primary care – that includes GPs, district nursing and mental health – with the view to keeping people out of hospital.
“But, of course, that is leading to a number also making proposals about consolidating hospital services on fewer sites. The public and politicians will be very interested in those when the consultations start.”
The shift towards community care is likely to put pressure on GP practices too – an area which is already under strain – leading to growing waiting times to see a doctor.
Private Healthcare London
With pressure growing on the NHS, clients may consider the private sector. For example, The Smart Clinics’ website has seen a 20% increase in interest in private GP services in the first 2 months of 2017 vs the previous year.
Private GPs provide a readily available healthcare service with generous appointment times and no waiting lists.
The Smart Clinics offers private GP services together with a team of experienced GPs as well as a range of private health services and dentistry at two London clinics based in Brompton Cross and Wandsworth.
The company was founded in 2013 is an independent company with a genuine commitment to quality healthcare.
The company is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee. Patients are also welcome on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.
For more information, telephone our team on 020 7052 0070.