Blood pressure checks will be run in betting shops as part NHS shake-up aiming to help spot potential health problems in Britons before they become serious
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Blood pressure checks in BETTING SHOPS as part of NHS shake-up to ‘transform care’

  • New community health projects have been launched as part of an NHS shake-up
  • Today sees 42 integrated care systems in charge of health services in England
  • They replace more than 300 hospitals and clinical commissioning groups
  • Idea is that patients will benefit from health services working closer together
  • NHS bosses also say millions will be saved by cutting 170 chief executives  

Patients are being offered blood pressure checks in betting shops as part of an NHS shake-up. 

Mental health staff have also been placed in GP surgeries to help children under the reform, which kicks in today.

Both initiatives were devised by integrated care systems (ICS), which are hoped will slash unnecessary levels of bureaucracy within the health service.

England will be split into 42 systems, created to bring together GP teams, hospitals, local authorities and other partners under one roof.  

They have officially taken over the responsibilities of 300-plus hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and care systems. 

Blood pressure checks will be run in betting shops as part NHS shake-up aiming to help spot potential health problems in Britons before they become serious

Blood pressure checks will be run in betting shops as part NHS shake-up aiming to help spot potential health problems in Britons before they become serious

What is an integrated care system?

Integrated care systems or ICSs are a local bubbles used to organise health NHS services in England.

They divide England into 42 local areas and will take charge of — and control budgets for —  hospitals, GPs, mental health services, social care and other NHS services.

Under the old system, these were split into more than 300 individual hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups and care systems.

The ICS system — designed to join up patient care — was a recommendation that began to be set up several years ago. 

Former health secretary Matt Hancock unveiled the ‘bureaucracy busting’ plans just months before he resigned.

The aim is to improve care for people in each part of the country — including those with multiple conditions who access a range of health and care services.

Some regions have already rolled out new services under the changes, which have been in the making for several years. 

One GP practice in Stockport has started going into betting shops to deliver blood pressure checks, under one example highlighted by the NHS.

In Coventry and North Warwickshire, one local sports club is offering diabetes and obesity support, both through GP referrals but by also approaching people with the offer of access to a gym.

Dedicated mental health staff to help children and young people – called wellbeing practitioners – have also been put in some GP practices, to increase support and improve access to local mental health teams.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said the ICSs will transform the way the NHS cares for people and hopefully reduce the number of people seeking help in A&E.

‘Not only will the NHS provide care when someone is unwell or has an accident, but alongside our local government partners we must also now play an increasing key role in managing people’s health so that we can catch more killer conditions earlier and save lives,’ she said. 

‘Local areas are already doing this by going out into communities to spot signs and symptoms earlier in places such as sports clubs and betting shops as well as ensuring people can access community support rather than using 999 or going to A&E.’

CCGs, which have had control of local budgets until now, have been abolished as part of the reforms.

Hospital trusts will be put under the control of the ICSs. 

Under the previous framework, competition between organisations was promoted but this has been scrapped in favour of more joined-up working.

NHS bosses claim the move will save around £14million a year by cutting 170 health service chief executives.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said: ‘Amid the many challenges facing health services today, working more closely with partner services presents opportunities to deliver better, more joined-up care for patients.

‘Joint working in systems will help the whole of the NHS to tackle inequalities and address deep-rooted disparities in people’s health and wellbeing across England.’

Louise Ansari, national director at patient championing organisation Healthwatch England, said there was a ‘desire among the public to see services closer to where people live, making them more accessible and truly at the heart of communities’.

She added: ‘When services act on the experiences of those they serve, it results in better care.’

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