New GP body plans future changes to NHS healthcare in Camden

While NHS reforms navigate a tricky passage through parliament, Camden has already made headway in plotting its course for the future.

Dr Caz Sayer, the newly-elected head of Camden’s Clinical Commissioning Group, gave a speech on the future shape of health in the borough at NHS Camden’s annual general meeting on Thursday, September 15.

The new GP-led committee set out its aims to revolutionise the local health service by cutting costs and improving patient care.

Dr Sayer, who works as a GP at Adelaide Medical Centre in Chalk Farm, said: “It struck me how fragmented our system is at the moment, how much replication there is from a patient’s perspective with complex needs, and how managing that system around them must be totally impossible and also cost inefficient.

“It must be because patients bounce between these services. I have looked at every angle and it is changes to working practice which can deliver this.”

Dr Sayer said under the current system patients are referred backwards and forwards in a costly and inefficient “matrix”.

Under the new system she plans to create “hubs” for patients to iron out kinks in the present system.

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The hub could see clinicians physically relocate to work more closely together, or video conference calls may be used to speed up patient treatment, she explained.

One of the biggest challenges facing Dr Sayer’s ambition of creating a smoother route from diagnosis to treatment, is to renegotiate the way hospitals charge health commissioners for services.

She said she would consider financial rewards to providers who offered more integrated healthcare.

“The problem at the moment is that with secondary care the incentive is to bring people through hospital doors and that’s how they are paid,” she said. “There is very little incentive to get patients out or to work in an integrated way.

“But if the responsibility for integration or the money sat differently, that would develop integration and help towards being more cost effective.”

The government’s Health and Social Care Bill is due to have a second reading in the House of Lords on October 8.

If the bill is passed, the GP commissioning group will take on sole responsibility for buying health services across Camden by 2013.