£4m plan to help Sandwell residents live healthier lifestyles
A £4.2 million plan aimed at helping patients in Sandwell to live healthier lifestyles and ease pressure on hospital services has been launched.
Health bosses want to work with GP practices and have set up 12 pilot projects to educate people on preventing illnesses and to help them stay independent for longer.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group want to reduce demand on stretched NHS departments including accident and emergency.
Thirty-five GP practices across Sandwell and West Birmingham areas have formed 12 groups to work with patients.
Doctors have formed local voluntary groups to look at the needs of their communities in the borough.
About 230,000 people will benefit this year and the CCG plans to extend the scheme to all 110 GP practices in the area in the future.
The aim of the scheme is to prevent people from developing conditions such as diabetes, strokes and cancer.
The pilot scheme plans to reduce demand on hospital services by providing care closer to home and helping patients to stay independent for longer
These pilots will include a detailed review of the GPs' local communities and social care services and the scheme is part of the CCG's plans to address health inequalities in preparation for the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital in 2019/20.
Dr Nick Harding, Chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG and a GP in Handsworth Wood, said: "Our aim is to maximise the potential of primary care to deliver care that is safe, compassionate, proactive, responsive and effective.
"Each community is diverse and has different needs, and we believe local GPs, who are at the heart of their patients' care, are best placed to understand how the NHS can support these communities.
"We want to support patients to live healthier lives and receive care closer to home. To do this we know we need to take a local approach to delivering integrated health and social care. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this work, as the pilot schemes develop local action plans this autumn."
These pilots are part of the CCG's commitment to delivering 'healthcare without boundaries', at a local level
Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG is one of the largest CCGs in the country responsible for buying healthcare services for about 530,000 people.
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