NHS chiefs have asked elderly patients to give their views on health and social care, ahead of moves to reduce the number of admissions to East Lancashire’s hospitals.

East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants more patients with minor or long-term conditions to be seen by GPs and district nurses, rather than specialist staff in acute hospitals, as this will save money and ‘reflect people’s changing needs’.

It comes after the Lancashire Telegraph revealed last month how the CCG is ‘looking at options’ for community-based ophthalmology, dermatology and musculoskeletal services, for patients with eye, skin and muscle complaints. Controversially, this could see private companies bidding for the contracts currently held by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and other NHS providers.

The CCG’s latest call for patients’ views relates to a broad range of services for people over the age of 65 and with long term conditions, and bosses pledged that people’s experiences will be ‘fully included in the development of integrated health and social care’. It is not yet clear whether private companies could also be considered for these services.

Dr Mike Ions, chief clinical officer at the CCG, said: “The CCG is committed to providing better joined up health and social care for patients.“ “Integrated care is making sure that people have the right support to live healthy lives in their communities, and have fewer avoidable stays in hospitals and care homes.

“We are planning to bring together local teams of people from a range of disciplines, such as nursing, social work, and physiotherapy. This will help ensure that care is better co-ordinated, particularly where patients need a range of medical and social support.”

The CCG would particularly like to speak to people over the age of 65, or with one or more long term conditions, or anyone who cares for these patients.

Contact Sharon Walkden before Friday, August 1, on 01772 214103 or email at sharon.walkden@lancashirecsu.nhs.uk