Public views sought on changes to healthcare

People living in Castle Point, Rochford and Southend-on-Sea are being asked for their views on proposed changes to healthcare. The two local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG and NHS Southend CCG - are jointly updating their Service Restriction Policies (SRP) and seeking views on a number of changes within the document.

NHS Southend CCG Chair Dr José Garcia Lobera said: “Most CCGs have a Service Restriction Policy (SRP) which sets out the clinical criteria for a large range of medical treatments and procedures. This is an important document as it explains which treatments are not available through the NHS and those treatments which are available but only if a patient matches certain criteria.

“The NHS Five Year Forward View outlines three key areas for change that are needed if the NHS is going to be sustainable now and in the future, which are (i) health and wellbeing, (ii) quality of care and (iii) NHS finance and efficiency. We must therefore ensure treatments and procedures provided locally are based on good clinical evidence and value. This has led us to suggest some changes to our SRP, and we want local people to have a look at these proposed changes and let us know what they think.”

The CCGs are reviewing the criteria for three treatments as follows:

GYNAECOMASTIA

Gynaecomastia is enlargement of the male breast tissue. At present there is little clinical evidence that having this surgery leads to better mental or physical health. The proposed change is that a patient wishing to have this surgery would need to submit an individual funding request (IFR) to demonstrate an exceptional circumstance.

SPINE INJECTIONS

Some patients currently receive steroid injections for back pain. However, latest guidance suggests there is insufficient clinical evidence to support the use of these injections in sub-acute and chronic pain originating from or present within the lower-back. The proposed change is that a patient wishing to have this treatment would need to submit an individual funding request (IFR) to demonstrate an exceptional circumstance.

IMPLANTATION OF TORIC LENSES FOR CORNEAL ASTIGMATISM DURING CATARACT SURGERY

Some patients who undergo cataract surgery also have astigmatism. Toric lenses can be inserted (instead of the normal artificial lenses used in cataract surgery) to treat the astigmatism as well as replacing the cloudy natural lens. However there is little long-term clinical evidence of long-term effectiveness for toric lenses, and there are instances of these lenses moving after the operation which have meant that the patients have ended up needing spectacles after all. The proposal is that toric lenses would not be routinely funded.

The CCGs are launching a consultation on 21 February until 14 March and local people are being invited to offer their views either through an online survey, a printed survey or by attending workshops with GPs. Full details, including the consultation document, can be found here.

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