For the past year, staff from across the local NHS and Doncaster Council have been working on an ambitious first-of-its-kind plan to re-think the way Doncaster’s health and social care services are provided in the future.
The result is the newly unveiled Doncaster Place Plan, which sets out a five-year vision for transforming the way the services you rely on are provided in the Borough. The concept is simple but important: instead of services being primarily there to respond when you are ill, a key new emphasis is on helping you avoid becoming unwell in the first place.
Trying to prevent you from becoming ill will be the cornerstone of what we will do in the future. From supporting you to manage chronic health problems better, to diagnosing diseases earlier, to helping you cut your risk of getting ill by helping you make lifestyle changes like stopping smoking and losing weight, the drive will be to support you to take better control of your health.
Local hospitals will be there if you need them but the focus will be on support and bringing more services into the community, providing them closer to where you live.
If you’re a parent, more support is proposed to help give your children a good start to a healthy life. If you do become unwell and need a hospital stay you will be given faster access to, such as, rehabilitation to help you recover and get back to your normal way of life as soon as possible.
If you live at home and have long term health problems, you may be monitored closely to ensure your condition doesn’t deteriorate and result in an emergency hospital admission.
We’re not starting from scratch, lots of work is already underway to turn the Plan into reality but central to making the changes will be more joined-up working across the NHS and other local organisations, including sharing budgets to get more from the finite money we have.
Importantly, what difference will it make to Doncaster people like you? There will be a renewed focus on strengthening services and providing a support infrastructure in local neighbourhoods, with GP practices being at the core of delivering your health care. Services will be wrapped around the needs of you, your family and friends.
Local high quality hospital emergency and planned care services will still be ready and waiting when you need them and within South Yorkshire there will be specialist centres if you need more intensive, specialised care following a heart attack or brain tumour, for example.
Services will be geared towards helping you maintain your independence for as long as possible and, as the changes impact, we’ll start to narrow the life expectancy gap between the better off and poorer areas of the Borough, which in some places is as much as 10 years for men and seven years for women.
You can read the Doncaster Place Plan at https://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Doncaster-Place-Plan.pdf