Early diagnosis and long term conditions

Where we can’t prevent people from becoming ill, we aim to ensure they are diagnosed early to enable the best and most effective treatment and clinical outcome.

Our operational plan sets out how we will achieve this ambition for the year ahead. In terms of our performance, the CCG achieved the majority of constitutional standards including the six-week diagnostic standard and various cancer standards by our local acute provider Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.

We have a cancer plan and have focused on cancer in GP Protected Learning Time events and in our communications to practices. We aim to improve early diagnosis rates in cancer, and we will review how GPs can have access to certain tests directly. This has started with the inclusion of referrals for suspected cancer as part of the new non-obstetric ultrasound service. It is hoped that diagnosing cancer earlier will mean that more patients live longer after diagnosis.

The CCG made numerous investments during 2016-17 to support improvements in health, wellbeing and quality of life. This included investment in diabetes education, where we have seen significant improvements. We are reviewing the number of patients attending structured diabetes education and those patients achieving all their treatment targets, as these are areas for improvement.

To ensure that our patients with diabetes are receiving equal levels of care, we offered the five most challenged practices additional support. You can read more about this initiative in our annual report summary.

More of our practices participated in the National Diabetes Audit compared to the last two years and we have seen an improvement in the number of people with a long-term condition who feel supported to manage their condition.

All our GP practices have been offered support to identify people with a dementia diagnosis that have not been recorded on the dementia register.

In addition, we are identifying practices where the number of records on dementia register is lower than predicted. Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (which provide most of our adult mental health services) is achieving dementia care plan targets.