Support network launched to encourage uptake of care trusts

A new support network was launched by the government this week
to encourage and support the uptake of care trusts,
writes Derren Hayes.

The Integrated Care Network – jointly run by the Department of
Health and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister – will work with
local authorities, NHS trusts and primary care trusts to develop
more local partnerships.

It will organise national meetings and development programmes,
and provide best practice resources and consultancy services for
individual projects.

The move follows the launch earlier this month of the fifth care
trust. The Witham, Braintree and Halstead Care Trust will focus on
integrating health and social services for older people.

Essex social services director Mike Leadbetter said the trust
aimed to provide a single, seamless service and would benefit from
having more input from clinicians.

“Trusts are a way of getting councillors onto the board
and having a say in health policy,” Leadbetter added.

It joins the four existing care trusts established in April in
Bradford, Camden and Islington, Northumberland and Manchester.

Although the three covering mental health service users are
reporting no teething troubles, Northumberland Care Trust, which
covers all client groups except mental health service users, has
admitted that it has had to introduce measures to ration some of
its services to reduce a £1.9m budget overspend.

It has recently established panels to scrutinise more closely
whether elderly people need residential nursing care, and plans to
scale back domestic work support.

David Parkin, director of social care and planning at the trust,
said: “We’ve saved around six admissions to homes, but
the major costs and savings are in home care.”

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