In a development set to benefit the health of local people, Greenwich Community Health Services (GCHS) will transfer to Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust on 1 April 2011.
GCHS offers a range of services such as community nursing, podiatry, specialist child healthcare, therapy services and specialist dental care. Services are delivered by district nurses; community paediatric doctors; therapists; dentists and dental nurses and health visitors. They are provided in locations such as health centres; schools; children’s centres; GP practices and patients’ homes. Around 750 staff will transfer to Oxleas, bringing total staff numbers to almost 3,500. This means that from April 1, 33% of Oxleas staff will be community health focused.
Oxleas currently provides healthcare services including mental health and learning disability services throughout Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich. Bexley Community Health Services successfully transferred to the trust in July 2010.
NHS Greenwich is the local NHS body responsible for planning, commissioning and delivering health services to the people of Greenwich. The organisation chose Oxleas as the preferred partner to take on the running of GCHS in May last year.
The transfer is part of the process in which primary care trusts are nationally divesting themselves of community services to comply with the Department of Health’s vision for modern, high quality community services.
Oxleas’ Chief Executive, Stephen Firn, said: “GCHS has an enviable reputation for high quality services. We welcome their joining the trust as an opportunity to end the artificial divide between physical and mental health needs and to further develop first class community services.”
Director of Greenwich Community Health Services, Lesley Strong, expects the transfer will give GCHS the opportunity to further improve services for patients: “The change of management will, in time, help to make services easier to use and improve the sharing of information between health professionals. It will bring real benefits to the people of Greenwich by simplifying referral processes, improving access to services, extending clinical expertise and streamlining information management. Patient care is, as always, our top priority. I want to assure you that services will not be disrupted and patients should expect to see the same member of staff at the usual place.”
The move should also benefit staff as Oxleas was named the best NHS organisation to work for in London in the 2010 Healthcare 100 list produced by the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times.
Chief Executive of NHS Greenwich, Jane Schofield, said: “Greenwich PCT has invested heavily in community health services over the last 10 years, creating a service that is flourishing and focused on local needs. Building on these firm foundations, I am confident that the transfer to Oxleas will be extremely successful, and that services will continue to improve and reach even more people across Greenwich.”
The transfer has been approved by Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts and NHS London.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust provides mental health and learning disability services in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich boroughs, community health services in Bexley and (from 1 April) in Greenwich, and specialist services in Lewisham.
NHS Greenwich is responsible for commissioning healthcare services for local people in the borough of Greenwich.
In April 2009, Greenwich Teaching PCT’s key functions separated in two different functions;
• commissioning services for local people and
• providing services for local people.
The commissioning part of the PCT became known as NHS Greenwich and the services provider part of the PCT as Greenwich Community Health Services.
NHS London is the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) for the whole of the Greater London area.
Children’s Physiotherapist, Claire Higgins, and Kyra during a physiotherapy session at Goldie Leigh