Medical meeting's visitors

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Audlem Medical Practice

Last week's meeting of the Audlem Medical Patients' Participation Group (PPG) included two influential visitors who are helping Audlem get back where it belongs medically.

Simon Holden, Director of Finance for NHS Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral and Simon Whitehouse, Chief Operating Officer of South Cheshire Commissioning Consortium (SCCC), had been invited by the PPG in an attempt to sort out finally where Audlem sits in the current reforms of the NHS.

As regular readers will recall, Audlem Online has run a number of headlines over the past year or so about 'Audlem being in medical limbo.' This arose when the Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust (WCPCT) transferred Audlem back to its control fifteen months ago meaning Audlem was in Cheshire East politically but Cheshire West medically.

A meeting was held in Chester almost a year ago — reported on Audlem Online — to resolve this issue but, while all seemed to have been agreed in principle, the necessary bureaucratic transfer had since moved at a very slow speed. Indeed, at a snail's pace would be an exaggeration.

#Invited
Two members of the PPG met with the Simon Holden and Simon Whitehouse in late December to try and resolve the problem and invited them to the January Audlem PPG meeting, to which they agreed.

With the NHS reforms now underway, the previous Primary Care Trust structure — there were four Trusts covering Cheshire — has changed and Simon Holden now has financial responsibility for all of those Trusts.

In 2013, the PCTs will disappear and be replaced by GP Consortia — these are being set up currently and will cover large groups of GP practices. Simon Whitehouse is responsible for the consortia covering South Cheshire and which Audlem will be joining.

#Transfer
While the transfer of Audlem from WCPCT to the South Cheshire GP Consortia — are you still following this? — has been agreed and welcomed, budgets still have to be finalised and shifted across to ensure Audlem gets its fair share of both day-to-day spending (prescriptions, hospital care, community health etc) and overheads — the cost of running the PCT previously and the GP Consortia in the future.

The PPG heard that the budgets were now just about agreed and a post has been advertised for an administrator to look after the Audlem and Wrenbury practices — both transferring from WCPCT to South Cheshire.

It looks as if Audlem will be back shortly where it belongs — part of a South Cheshire NHS body — that's important, as that is where most local patients go for their various treatments rather than wanting services from the WCPCT area which is Chester-orientated.

There are still details to be sorted — and the two Simons will be invited back to a PPG meeting if those issues remain a problem — but it may be that Audlem's unfortunate time in medical limbo may be nearing resolution.