Dewsbury - a dying town

Dewsbury - a dying town

By Staff Reporters

MEN in Dewsbury die an average five years younger than counterparts who live barely 10 miles away, according to local health chiefs.

The shocking statistic came in the annual report of the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (NKCCG), which oversees healthcare spending priorities in the district, and which says it is “operating in a challenging environment”.

Last year the group, which represents 27 GP’s practices in the Heavy Woollen and Spen Valley area, planned for a deficit of £2.1 million in its bugets, but ended up running into the red to the tune of almost £15.5 million.

The NKCCG’s chief officer Carol McKenna stated in her Performance Overview: “While overall health and wellbeing in Kirklees has improved in recent years, this is not true for all groups.

“For example, men and women in Dewsbury have a life expectancy of five and 3.6 years respectively shorter than those in nearby Holme Valley.”

The Holme Valley lies to the south of Huddersfield and includes Honley and Holmfirth.

When The Press requested an interview with the group’s chairman Dr David Kelly, its Senior Communications and Public Relations Officer Helen Haysthorne replied: “As this links with Health Inequalities, the press office at Kirklees Council will be best placed to provide a response,” and said she had passed the query to them.

The council did not reply.

The CCG commissions a range of health services ranging from GP care through community nursing, ambulance services, mental health and learning disabilities, all the way through to emergency and urgent care.

It serves a total of around 194,000 people in the district and is led by clinicians.

The report will be presented at the group’s Annual General Meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall on Wednesday August 22nd at 9.30am, which is open to the public.

The report highlighted collaborative efforts with both the Huddersfield CCG, NHS Wakefield and wider partnerships within both West Yorkshire and Harrogate, in order to make drastic cost savings while attempting to improve services.

It highlighted some good news in cancer treatment waiting times, in terms of urgent referrals to first appointments – 95.2% against a target of 93% – and scored very highly against national targets on mental health diagnoses, but fell badly behind in many other areas.

On a four ‘light’ ranking system of such groups, North Kirklees was rated Amber, just above the bottom rated Red category.


ONE doctor serving on the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) received a bumper salary of between £70-£75,000 during the last financial year – despite attending only 60% of board meetings and 42% of the Quality, Performance and Finance committee meetings he serves on.
Dr Nadeem Ghafoor (pictured) is a GP working out of the Healds Road (Dewsbury) and Liversedge Health Centres and his was the highest remuneration amongst the CCG’s community doctors, up £5,000 on the previous year at the financially stricken trust. He takes the lead within the group for primary care issues.
Another GP seeing his annual salary from the group increase by the same proportion was Cleckheaton GP Dr Andrew Cameron, who was paid between £55-£60,000 in 2017/18.
The CCG is chaired by Dr David Kelly, a GP at Brookroyd Surgery in Heckmondwike. The group accounts show that Dr Kelly earned less in 2017/18 than previously, with a salary and pension package of beween £130-£135,000.
Asked about the salary levels, a spokesperson for NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “Salaries of Governing Body members are determined by the Governing Body, on recommendation from the CCG’s Terms and Remuneration Committee, who make decisions based on national guidance on remuneration, as well as comparative data from other CCGs across England.
“Governing Body members’ remuneration is based on the number of sessions that they are contracted to work for the CCG, which varies from individual to individual depending on the role they are fulfilling.
“Attendance at committees is only one aspect of a Governing Body member’s role.
“For example, representatives from member practices on the Governing Body also act as clinical leads on CCG priority areas.”


By Staff Reporters
HEALTH services across the district received a ‘poor’ rating from NHS England and the North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group was subject to an inquiry because it was missing targets.
The NHS operates a coloured light system wth the best CCGs being ranked Green Star, followed by Green, Amber and Red for the worst performing groups. North Kirklees was given an Amber rating.
Chief Officer Carol McKenna reported: “At the beginning of the year we planned for a deficit of £2.1 million.
“Due to a range of cost pressures this increased to a £15.5 million deficit by the end of the year.
“This is clearly disappointing and marks a significant variance from our plan.
“Our financial position meant that the referral to the Secretary of State made by our External Auditors in 2016/17 remained in place for another year.
“The deterioration in the financial position also meant that the CCG was subject to increased scrutiny from our regulator NHS England, which culminated in the commissioning of an independent capability and capacity review.
“It is important that we start to address the financial position and in 2018/19 we have planned for a reduced deficit of £11 million.”
Ms McKenna said that highlights of the past year included a new ‘frailty unit’ to ensure older, vulnerable people get care near to their home, changes to admissions and referral services, and piloting a scheme to support school pupils with autism and mental health needs.
New perinatal services provide specialist care for pregnant women and new mothers and another pilot programme has seen 23 ‘nursing associates’ from across Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield, trained to support healthcare workers and registered nurses.
Ambulance service in North Kirklees was one of best performing in the region but although cancer referral to appointment times were met, referral to treatment within two months was only 78.7% against a target of 85%.
Some cancer screening targets were well below targets, with breast screening 63.5% (80%), cervical  69.3 (80%) and bowel 52.9% (60% target).
Similarly, waiting times in A&E were well below NHS targets with only 85.7% of patients being seen within four hours, against a target of 95%.
Three people had to wait more than 12 hours to be seen.
Likewise the percentage of patients who would recommend their GPs or were satisfied with the phone/after-hours service were all below target.
On dementia diagnosis a target of 67% over-achieved at 69% and mental health diagnoses were at 75% against a target of 50%.
The CCG scored well on reducing ‘avoidable emergency admissions’ with a rate of 585 against a target of 627, and there were zero cases of MRSA infections contracted, while Clostridium Difficile cases numbered 35 against a target of 40.
The CCG’s AGM is at Dewsbury Town Hall on August 22 at 9.30am and is open to the public.

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