Ingrid Torjesen reports on how the city of culture badge helped drive Hull to win Clinical Commissioning Group of the Year
Hull is a city with some challenging health inequalities and when named UK City of Culture for 2017, the city’s clinical commissioning group decided to take full advantage of the opportunities this offered.
Hull CCG recognised that having this accolade presented a unique opportunity for it to build on the pride and optimism it had sparked among the city’s population to engage and mobilise them in creating a healthier Hull where people could achieve their full potential.
The CCG’s approach to engaging its population in improving their health helped take it from being rated as ”Requiring Improvement” by NHS England for financial performance and leadership to ”Outstanding” in the space of 12 months, and culminated with it being awarded Clinical Commissioning Group of the Year in the 2017 HSJ Awards.
“Winning HSJ Clinical Commissioning Group of the Year really topped off a fantastic year for the city of Hull,” says Emma Latimer, chief officer of Hull CCG. “Our award was a reflection of excellent clinical leadership from our board and GPs, the innovative work of the CCG team and the support of many partners.”
As a major partner in Hull 2017 (City of Culture), the CCG had hoped to encourage a wave of volunteering among the population that would last beyond the year as city of culture, and to ensure that events reached into every community.
In doing this the CCG aimed to build on its existing Hull 2020 Champions programme – a growing network of individuals inspiring and empowering their family, friends, neighbours and their communities to be happy and healthy and make changes in their local community.
The Hull 2017 programme included events to help reduce social isolation, encourage physical activity and improve wellbeing. Projects included many arts and crafts activities, and older residents were encouraged to be physically active through Hull’s Got Talent 55+ and circus skills workshops in care homes.
At the time the Hull CCG made its submission to the HSJ Awards in September last year, 130,000 hours had already been contributed to projects by volunteers. The CCG reported that research has shown that 70 per cent of residents agreed that UK City of Culture was having a positive impact on the lives of local people.
The HSJ Awards judges praised Hull CCG for being “very focused and engaging local communities”, “commissioning services that make a difference to people’s lives”, and applauded it for seeing its role “as making a difference to people rather than just balancing the books”.
In particular, the CCG has moved from payment by results to a new block contract providing a fixed income to the local Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, with a detailed risk and incentive schedule. This is a fundamentally different approach to working together and improving health outcomes, which has been commended by NHS England.
Following improved performance in accident and emergency and on delayed transfer of care, 95 per cent of patients said they would recommend A&E in Hull to family and friends in February 2017, compared with just 55 per cent two years earlier.
The value of commissioning is not always recognised as CCGs do not deliver frontline health services. We are, however, responsible for population health management, ensuring that the right health services are in place for our population and that these services work together effectively
The majority of Hull’s 40 GP practices are now working in partnerships serving 35,000-75,000 patients, and improved primary care screening had achieved dementia diagnosis rates of 84.3 per cent of prevalence as of March 2017 – way above the national target of 67 per cent. A wider focus on mental health across the board has delivered reduced waiting times for mental health services for both adults and children.
The CCG has invested £1.49m over 2017-2020 in social prescribing to ease pressure on GPs and address wider determinants of ill health by providing high quality advice and support for people who may not need medical treatment but could benefit from a community or social service. This might include, for example, people struggling with isolation, loneliness, debt, family issues that may need closer one-to-one support.
Ms Latimer continues: “The CCG of the Year award has really helped to shine a spotlight on health care commissioning, and one of the most pleasing aspects of getting the award was that colleagues in other areas have showed interest in the work we do in Hull. The value of commissioning is not always recognised as CCGs do not deliver frontline health services. We are, however, responsible for population health management, ensuring that the right health services are in place for our population and that these services work together effectively.”