CABINET office minister Francis Maude found out more about a pilot project to address local health needs during his whistle-stop tour of the Black Country.

He was invited to the Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group office in Brierley Hill on Wednesday (January 21) to discuss the Building Health Partnerships project.

The CCG and Dudley Council for Voluntary Service are working together on the project, designed to improve collaboration between clinical commissioning groups, local voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises.

Mr Maude was told that the project focuses on moving patients towards independence and self sustainability and has already led to a reduction in the number of people visiting GP surgeries and A&E.

He said: “We had a wide-ranging discussion about how we can make patient care better, while allowing health staff greater freedom to innovate.

"Thanks to our long-term economic plan this Government is improving the public services on which hardworking people rely while saving taxpayers money."