Sheffield health chiefs’ plans to tackle liver disease and sight loss

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

Easing pressure on A&E, tacking action against rising levels of liver disease, increasing the diagnosis rate of eyesight problems and extending the role of pharmacies are among Sheffield health bosses’ plans for this year.

A meeting of the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body discussed a report setting out its aims for 2015-16, which hope to tackle the ‘significant pressure’ caused by rising numbers of patients at the city’s hospitals, particularly in A&E.

The report says a new contract will be brought in to ‘extend the role of pharmacies to support minor illness’, while a business case is being drawn up to launch a pilot scheme boosting the number of GP home visits out-of-hours.

A project will also be run by the CCG looking at how quickly family doctors send patients to hospital.

The report says: “Early in the day patients can be assessed and discharged - later in the day there is no choice but to admit.”

A focus on liver disease and sight loss is also on the agenda over the next year, it adds.

“Although accounting for a small number of deaths overall, the death rate from liver disease is rising very quickly in Sheffield as well as nationally.

“A significant proportion of sight loss can be prevented, treated or reduced yet the biggest problems faced in Sheffield are the degree of under-diagnosis of people, low levels of referral to appropriate services and, in certain cases, low uptake of relevant specialist screening services.”

A review of health services provided to groups such as migrants, asylum seekers and refugees is needed, the report says, as well as more research around ‘inequalities’ linked to early diagnosis of cancer, and treatment of the disease.

“This year we intend to continue building on our work so far to achieve our aims, recognising that most health services in Sheffield are seeing increased demand and our acute hospitals remain under significant pressure.”

The CCG has a budget of £720 million this year, but the report warns: “The CCG will see minimal increases in funding in real terms. We need to deliver efficiencies in all areas of our spend.”