I chaired our monthly Governing Body meeting last Wednesday at Wandsworth Town Hall.​ 

Governing Body meetings are important occasions, and from now on I will be reporting back on them informally via this blog to give a flavour of the discussions that were held ahead of the formal publication of minutes on our website.  The meetings, which are held in public, are an opportunity for our Governing Body members to scrutinise the work of the CCG, and agree the steps needed to improve health services across Wandsworth.

Clinical area of focus: dementia care

Each month we focus on a particular clinical area to allow us to review progress, and look at our plans for services in that area. On Wednesday we looked at the growing problem of dementia and discussed our Dementia Annual Report which was introduced by GP Lead for Dementia, Dr Aryan Lawe. We heard about the devastating impact that dementia can have on the lives of patients, their families, and carers.

Dr Lawe set out the progress we’ve made against our ambitious target of diagnosing 55% of those who are estimated to be living with dementia in Wandsworth. This year we have almost managed to meet that target – the current rate is 54.9% - which means that we are well on track to meet the national target which says that 66% of dementia patients should be diagnosed by 2015.

The board explored some of the ways that we can improve diagnosis, particularly by improving communication between secondary and primary care colleagues.  We also looked at the support available to carers including respite care and education.

Financial outlook

We also had an in depth discussion about the CCG’s financial outlook, particular following the recent announcement of our two-year allocation from NHS England. The new allocation brings challenges, as the CCG will be receiving less new money than in previous allocations. However we are discussing new opportunities to create a sustainable health and social care system in Wandsworth that is truly built around the individual needs of patients.

The Governing Body agreed that it is more important than ever that we continue to make sure that services are delivered as efficiently as possible and that we maximise our investment in the joint ‘Better Care Fund’ which aims to improve the integration of health and social care services. In addition, we will be reducing the running costs of the organisation by 10% by 2015/16.

Public and Patient Engagement

I’m really pleased that the Governing Body meetings have good attendance from members of the public. This means that interested people can ask questions and find out more about our plans for local healthcare. This is just one of the ways in which we try to engage the public, and we undertake a huge range of consultations, meetings, training and events to make sure local people are involved in our decision making. Our Clinical Leader for Patient and Public Engagement, Dr Sian Job, reported back on the activity we’ve undertaken and our future plans. The Governing Body agreed the strategy but asked that we are ever more ambitious, particularly in the use of social media.

The papers for this month’s Governing Body meeting can be downloaded here