All change as Sirona takes on community health services

Published on: 31 Mar 2014

Adult community health services in the Downend area are changing from this month. They are now run by Sirona care and health. We talk to its chief executive Janet Rowse about what this will mean for local people.

Why have these changes come in?

South Gloucestershire CCG ran a tendering process with the contract awarded to Sirona in August 2013.

Where has Sirona come from?

Sirona was formed in October 2011 to provide community health and adult social care services in Bath and North East Somerset. It is funded by the NHS and Bath and North East Somerset Council for social care.

It already provides services in South Gloucestershire - the Lifetime service for children with life limiting illnesses and the specialist healthcare services for people with a  learning disability.

What services will Sirona be running?

We will be providing a full range of healthcare services in people’s home and in the community.  These will include community nursing and therapy services.  In addition, we will also be responsible for the ward at Thornbury Hospital and for a range of specialist clinics such as physiotherapy; continence; dermatology and podiatry.  We are often providing care to some of the most vulnerable in the community and we are passionate about ensuring that services are provided to a standard that we would want for ourselves or for our loved ones.

Will Sirona be making a profit from this work?

Sirona is a social enterprise which means that any surpluses it makes are re-invested in services and staff.  We are a community interest company which means we exist to benefit local communities – we do not have shareholders and nobody is paid a dividend.  We remain totally publicly funded and see ourselves as providing public service.  

How many staff are involved?

450 will transfer to Sirona from April 1, 2014

Where will they operate from?

A range of clinics and health centres across South Gloucestershire and on Henderson Ward at Thornbury Hospital.

How will the services change?

The current staff providing community services will be transferring to Sirona so service users should see no immediate change in the care they are receiving.

All the services available up to now will continue but we have plans to enhance them to enable even more people to have high quality care, treatment and support in their own homes.

Our aim is to work with people at an early stage to minimise the extent to which their health impacts on their daily lives. We will be putting in place new-style services to support, in particular, our elderly frail population by working closely with our GP colleagues who are at the centre of local healthcare.

What are these new style services?

Ee are pioneering a new initiative called Active Ageing, in which a specialist health visitor team will offer all 80-85-year-olds who are not currently having health or social care a health MOT. If the individual is well and managing then we will return to see them after a year. If someone needs help of whatever sort we will work with them to find the help they need, whether it’s with shopping or finding local groups or managing symptoms of a new condition.

How will you ensure high standards are maintained?

The way we work in Sirona is by “taking it personally” – I ask all our staff to make a commitment to provide care with compassion and to a standard they would be happy to receive themselves or for their loved ones.  We recruit staff who share these values; we undertake extensive and rigorous training and supervision of staff and we listen to what our service users say about the quality of service they experience.  We are also regulated by a number of external bodies including the Care Quality Commission and our commissioners undertake periodic inspections of our services and report back to us accordingly.

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