DOCTORS in the town have become some of the first in the country to take control of the NHS budget after Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was officially given the go ahead.

The group is one of 34 in the first wave of authorisations and chairman Andy Davies says it is something residents should care about and get involved in to contribute to a better NHS service.

He said: “The NHS reforms are giving control to the local population, doctors and nurses.

“Quality in health care reduces the cost because you’re doing things right the first time.

“People should feel like it’s their CCG, sign up for membership and get involved otherwise the same decisions could be made that aren’t working.

“We can’t promise we can do everything that’s asked for but the more involved people are, the better it will be.”

The 32-strong team in the Warrington CCG were handed authorisation after a rigorous five month assessment.

Andy added clinicians in the town had already contributed to decisions leading to ‘real change’ including an urgent care unit in A&E to reduce pressure on the hospital, access to a respiratory nurse by phone for patients out of hours and ensuring mental health problems are treated much quicker.

The GP, who now has to spend three of four days in the surgery a week rather than five, says his commissioning role has helped make him better at his job and he is looking forward to making Warrington ‘fit for the future’.

He added: “Understanding what’s available has made me more effective as a doctor.

“There’s still a lot of people in hospital that don’t need to be there and we’re a health service, not a sickness service, so in the future I would like to stop more people from getting sick.

“We want to encourage more people to take part in screening programmes and move towards more prevention and early diagnosis.

“We really value our support from partners and would not be where we are without their support.”