'Off the scale' funding needed for some Shropshire health services

Shropshire’s health system needs to consult with patients over the future of services, with some areas needing “off the scale” levels of funding, a local NHS chief has said.

Mark Brandreth said discussions need to take place over funding
Mark Brandreth said discussions need to take place over funding

Last week MPs voted to approve a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance contributions, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would raise £12 billion annually and help fund health and social care.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG Interim Accountable Officer Mark Brandreth, former chief executive at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, said the measure was a sign things were changing.

He said the organisation needed to have “deliberative trade-off conversations” with its population in the next “three to six months” about the future of services.

In his first CCG governing body meeting in the job, he also told members he had shadowed a GP in Whitchurch to help him understand medics’ working day, and had other visits planned at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and a Telford surgery.

Mr Brandreth said: “In the autumn or perhaps into the winter, in the next three to six months, there’s a real responsibility on us to have a macro-conversation with our population about the future of health and social care.

“There is little doubt things are changing. We saw the announcements about social care funding and the tax system changing. Our services are changing. The need and demand is changing.

Mark Brandreth

“Children and young people’s mental health, for example, is off the scale in terms of the amount of support that’s needed.

“I think there’s a duty on us to have a macro-conversation with the population and the CCG needs to be central to that.

“There is some work going on in the background to see how we might do that, begin to get into some deliberative trade-off conversations with our populations, so then we can work that through in terms of what our population thinks and how it wants services to be.”

Mr Brandreth told members that, after his five-and-a-half year stint at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, he was conscious he needed to reconnect with providers across the county.

“This is why I started with a visit to one of our GP colleagues,” he said.

“Tim Lyttle, in Whitchurch, and his practice allowed me to spend nearly four hours shadowing him, to watch him work and – with the consent of the patients – listen in to some of those consultations and learn about what it’s really like for our colleagues.”

He praised the “really tight practice team working really hard together” at Bridgewater Family Medical Practice, which is part of the Churchmere Medical Group, and said he witnessed Dr Lyttle “dealing with some complex cases, patients with multiple co-morbidities, patients with deep underlying social issues, mental health issues and alcohol, which was a theme through a couple of the calls I listened to”.

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