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Evidence tells us that patients see better results if some specialist treatments for conditions like cancer or strokes are provided by fewer but bigger units – or centres of excellence. This is because specialist teams build up greater expertise and experience, meaning better results for patients.
Cancer care services across the country are already taking advantage of this evidence, with specialist surgery for certain types of cancer provided by fewer but bigger hospitals. Care for people who have had strokes and some specialist heart surgery is now being provided like this in Northamptonshire. Other services that can benefit from the bigger better model include emergency surgery at evenings and weekends, vascular surgery, children’s and young people’s surgery and high-risk maternity care.
Our objective is to offer as many services locally as we can and only establish specialist centres where we know it will make a difference to the care you receive. You might have to travel further to get specialist treatment or for a ‘one-off procedure’, however once you reach a bigger centre, you can expect to receive high-quality care with better and safer results.
Safer and Sustainable
Our local population is growing and ageing, at the same time as funding is under pressure.
People are living longer, with an average life expectancy for males of 80 years of age, while the South East Midlands is expected to see the number of residents increase from 1.6m to 1.9m in the next ten years.
Delivering a sustainable future means we must take a close look at our local services. For example, smaller units face a number of practical issues:
It can be a struggle for these to find the right specialist staff in the first place and even harder to find cover for them when they are on holiday or sick.
Employing more staff is not an option as smaller units. Because they see fewer patients, there would be times when there wasn’t enough work and resources not used efficiently.
It simply isn’t possible to provide the highest quality healthcare around the clock, without the right specialist staff. As a result smaller units are not always as consistent as larger ones.
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