Throughout the Reading area, our local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been engaging with people in the local community as they formulate their plans for the delivery of care over the next 5 years and beyond.
This is part of a national debate which has attracted much media interest. For Reading, as is the case across the UK, the NHS is trying to juggle a major dilemma. There will be an increased demand for their services in the future with an aging population and an increase in longer term medical conditions that require on-going treatment. Against this is the backdrop of zero growth in funding support and an increased desire to have greater access to care services across the whole week.
Dr Rod Smith, Chair of the Berkshire West Federation of CCGs sums up the dilemma "By 2015-16, the pressure caused by increases in an aging population equates to a seven per cent increase in hospital admissions and eight per cent increase in beds in Berkshire West. Based on our expectations of patient demands and a period of flat financial growth, we are likely to have an affordability gap of nearly £10 million in Reading by 15/16,"
Clearly some drastic decisions will have to be taken in order to prevent this from happening. Now is the time to have your say. Please therefore talk to your local surgery and share your views on the future of the NHS. Access to free medical care via the NHS is a legacy from us to our children and grandchildren and one we should all take responsibility for.
For anyone who has had to help look after a family member who is suffering from acute levels of dementia, they will appreciate the challenges involved in trying to accomplish even the most day to day of tasks such as getting dressed, having meals and continuing to have some social contact with the wider community.
For me, a point of great sadness is that people with this condition and their carers can become increasingly isolated from the rest of us. Consequently any initiatives to help people with dementia to stay active and involved deserve our full support.