Integration of community and acute services

Date posted: 6th December 2017

Approval has been given to integrate hospital and community services across south Cumbria from April 1 2018, following formal Board meetings last week.

The Boards of both Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB) gave their approval to the full plan to integrate the services, with staff currently working for CPFT to transfer to UHMB from April.

Conversations have been held with NHS staff, and union representatives from across south Cumbria as part of a formal proposal

A key element of Better Care Together has been the creation of 12 Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) across the Morecambe Bay area – which are bringing together general practice, community, hospital services, Local Authorities and the third sector. The ICCs will provide local clinical input to the community services – ensuring that the public is provided with a more seamless service between their home and ultimately the hospital.

CPFT Chief Executive Stephen Eames said:

“In south Cumbria we have been working closely with our Bay Health and Care Partners to develop what healthcare in Morecambe Bay will look like in the future.

As a health and care system, we want to work in a much more integrated and ‘joined up’ way to improve patient care and experience. This has always been the ambition of our Better Care Together strategy.

It therefore makes sense to work in a more integrated way across hospital and community care, reducing duplication and allowing the services to offer more consistent care across the whole of Morecambe Bay.”

UHMB Chief Executive Jackie Daniel said:

“This is a move which begins to make a reality of our vision of one NHS working for the public of Morecambe Bay.We will continue talking to staff across the health and care services to discuss this further in the run-up to April 1, and want to make the process as smooth as possible, without disrupting the services to patients.

Staff will retain their full terms and conditions when they integrate and we will ensure that they have a full opportunity to discuss plans on how services may develop in the future with their colleagues across the health system.

We want to include staff, unions and governors at all times during this process – and ensure they have the opportunity to influence how the integration takes place.”

Talks have now begun with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – who currently provide adult community services in north Lancashire – on the integration of those services in the future.

Morecambe Bay is one of five local partnerships which make up Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. The other areas are Pennine Lancashire, Blackpool and the Fylde Coast, Central Lancashire and West Lancashire. Each of these five areas faces challenges, some are unique to a specific area and others are collective challenges faced across the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria.

What is an Integrated Care Community?

Better Care Together is working with 12 Integrated Care Communities (ICCs), which have been created to help bring together local health and care organisations. The focus of the ICCs is to ensure that local people are supported to improve their own health and wellbeing, and that when people are ill or need support, they receive the best possible joined up care.

ICCs work across organisations in a defined geographical area to improve the overall health and wellbeing of local people by:

1. Joining up health and care services

2. Providing more care out of hospital

3. Supporting people to manage their own health

Health and social care professionals, GPs, the voluntary sector and the community are working as one team in each ICC to improve the health and wellbeing of local people. They are focusing on helping people to manage long term health conditions, improve access to information about healthier lifestyles and providing more care out of hospital so people can stay as well and independent as possible. They will also focus on helping people to stay well and working with local communities, empowering them to take a more active role in their health and wellbeing. By understanding the challenges that each area faces, and using the knowledge and experience of service users, the community can work together with health and care organisations to improve their health and wellbeing.

The 12 ICCs across south Cumbria and north Lancashire have been formed around GP Practice populations and have been developed in response to the changing needs of the population, including a growing elderly population with increasingly complex health needs . This means that people currently often spend longer in hospital than they need to or are admitted to hospital when it could have been avoided in the first place.

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