Nortumberland health trust in good place ahead of Covid-19 pandemic which left it 'better placed to deal with the outbreak'

Health chiefs have said that hard work and improvements last year meant Northumberland was in a good place going into Covid-19.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 3:54 pm
NHS Northumberland CCG’s chief operating officer Siobhan Brown and clinical chairman Dr Graham Syers.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying health services for the county, published its annual report for 2019-20 last week.

Due to the pandemic, it has also released a series of videos from bosses, which replaced the usual annual general meeting.

Siobhan Brown, the CCG’s chief operating officer, said 2019-20 had been a ‘very strong’ year for the organisation.

“We introduced a lot of different models of care that gave patients faster and more access to the care that they need,” she added. “It also put us in a really strong position for what we are unfortunately going through now with Covid.”

Accountable officer Mark Adams said: “2019-20 was another very successful year for us and saw continued improvements in the services that we could commission and deliver to our public and patients, but also saw our organisation continue to grow and develop as well, both of which made us better placed to deal with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.”

Dr Graham Syers, the CCG’s clinical chairman as well as a GP in Alnwick, reflected on how the pandemic has changed habits, both positive – a wider range of ways to access GPs and primary healthcare as well as fewer people attending A&E unnecessarily – and negative – later presentations of some with cancer symptoms and the impacts on mental health.

The introduction to the reports, which can be found online alongside the videos –, added: ‘Looking forward, 2020-21 continues to be a hugely challenging year for all of us as we continue to collectively deal with the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘The biggest thing we can all do to support and protect our local NHS is to follow the Government guidance on social distancing and household contact, continue to practice good hand hygiene and continue to wear face coverings wherever possible.’

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