Last week, like many Doncaster pupils, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was given its annual report.
Every year NHS England assesses the over 200 CCGs across the country and gives each one a rating based on how we have individually performed against more than 60 objectives. It’s a bit like the healthcare equivalent of Ofsted.
We’re assessed across a number of important areas of work, from how health services are delivered, to how effective those services have been in improving the health of Doncaster patients, to how successful we have been in managing our budget of over half a billion pounds a year.
There are four ratings: inadequate; requires improvement; good; and outstanding.
Last year, NHS Doncaster CCG was rated as ‘good’. But this year we’ve made improvement, becoming one of the few in the country to be given an ‘outstanding’ rating.
At a time when many CCGs are struggling to hit their targets and balance their books, it’s a great achievement and one we should celebrate locally. However we can’t be complacent. As a keen amateur sportsman, I’m a great believer that personal bests are there to be beaten, reset the goal and then improved on again. I like to apply this approach to medicine and the way we organise and provide health services in Doncaster – there’s always room for further improvement.
So, while we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made as an organisation over the past year, we’re looking forward to building on this foundation for the future.
It goes without saying that all the NHS staff and other colleagues are working hard to contribute to help improve the general health of the population of Doncaster but one area that has been highlighted in our report as a need for ongoing improvement is cancer.
Earlier this month I was pleased to be invited to the House of Commons as a guest of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer. I went to collect a certificate, which the Group awarded to only 20 commissioning groups in the country – and NHS Doncaster CCG was one of them.
It recognises the progress the CCG and its partners have made in improving one-year cancer survival rates in Doncaster. This is the second year in a row that we have been awarded a certificate. Only a few years ago, being given a cancer diagnosis in the borough was likely to have a potentially bleak outcome.
But it’s not like that anymore. We’re detecting cancers much earlier, which is leading to a greater chance of survival. Thousands of Doncaster people are living with and beyond cancer, and the figure will continue to grow.
Importantly, Doncaster’s cancer survival rates are edging closer to the national average, which shows how much we’re improving.
So, it’s no time for complacency, but definitely official recognition that we’re heading in the right direction.