Members of the public and staff across the Morecambe Bay area are being asked to contribute their thoughts on health and care as part of a ground-breaking series of events.

In association with Cumbria Healthwatch and Lancashire Healthwatch, Bay Health & Care Partners will be using the innovative ‘chatty van,’ which will visit nine locations across Morecambe Bay.

For the past three years the region has been working as one of the 50 national Vanguard health systems, delivering new models of care.

During this time, many new ways of working have been implemented, reducing the numbers of people attending hospital, providing more care closer to people’s homes and integrating care across different organisations to make care less complicated and delivered in or nearer people’s homes.

This year the hospital Trust and Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group are on target to make £30million savings – despite these successes, the health system across the Bay is being challenged to make further savings to live within its budget.

Andrew Bennett, Chief Officer, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group said: "We have come a long way in a short period of time, but we’re being challenged to go even further and at a faster pace.

"In addition we need to plan for the future health needs of our local population, address rising demand, and changes in technology and gaps in the workforce.

"It will also not come as a surprise to learn our financial position has deteriorated as funding levels have got tighter. It is still costing us more to deliver local healthcare across Morecambe Bay than we receive. For every £1.00 the Morecambe Bay health system receives, we are spending £1.20.

Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust said, "We have no plans to close any of our hospitals or to reduce the overall number of clinical staff. They are a vital part of the health system, however to keep pace with change and demand, the services delivered in our hospitals and communities may change in the future.

"Before we became a Vanguard we spoke at length to the public to ensure that they were able to contribute to our Better Care Together Clinical Strategy. Better Care Together Moor Lane Mills, Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QD

"We believe we can continue to make the savings without affecting the safety and good quality of the care we provide, we need to talk to the public in an extensive way again to ensure they can feedback their views on the work we are doing and our thoughts for the future."

"We want to hear the public’s thoughts and hope as many people as possible can contribute through the Chatty Van visits across the Bay, via a paper or on-line survey, or emailing their feedback via the Better Care Together website."

If anyone is unable to attend any of the sessions, please contact: 01524 518638 or visit where they will find a survey they can fill in or leave their comments on the topics being discussed.

Successful examples of new models of care

Advice and Guidance

Our locally developed Advice and Guidance scheme has expanded, resulting in more people and patients being cared for closer to home. The service offers the opportunity for GPs to have a secure electronic ‘conversation’ with a hospital specialist to obtain real time advice about a patient’s condition, reducing the need for outpatient appointments and patient travel.

This has meant that 1,675 patients in the last year avoided an outpatient appointment, in the first instance, and remain under the care of their GP.

Community Eye Care Service

A staggering 5,950 patients who would have previously had to come into hospital for their eye care have had their appointments at their local opticians. This not only reduces travel and associated costs for patients but also means they are seen quicker. It also frees up hospital appointments for people with more complex conditions that can only be managed in a hospital.

Patient-initiated follow ups

The ‘Patient Initiated Follow-Up Service’ (PIFU) was introduced as a pilot by the Trust in February 2017 in rheumatology and has expanded to cover more than 900 patients in four different specialities since the launch.

The aim of the service is to reduce unnecessary visits to hospital and patient waiting times, and also release the clinical teams to see new and more complex patients in a timely manner.

The four specialities are Rheumatology, Respiratory, Gynaecology and Children’s services – and PIFU will expand into other services where it is suitable and safe to do so.


A new service for patients referred to the orthopaedic service in south Cumbria – where they see a physiotherapist in newly-designed clinics rather than a consultant surgeon – has been a huge success. Better Care Together Moor Lane Mills, Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QD

Since its launch the new service has seen more than 1,550 new patients in community clinics at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal and at Dalton, near Barrow-in-Furness.

Patients referred into the service are receiving a high quality service delivered by specialist physiotherapists, who are able to diagnose, investigate and treat a multitude of conditions that do not require surgery. An early stage review of the new clinic revealed a satisfaction rate of 96%.


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