Lamb unveils areas that will lead ‘quiet revolution’ in health and social care integration

Fourteen integration 'pioneers' will test new ways of supporting older and disabled people to stay independent through integrated care

The government today announced the 14 “pioneer” areas that have been chosen to spearhead plans to integrate health and social care by 2018.

Care services minister Norman Lamb said announcement marked the start of a “quiet revolution” in the care of older and disabled adults. Plans put forward by the 14 – who were chosen from 99 expressions of interest – include setting up multidisciplinary teams to support service users, providing people with integrated care plans and single points of contact and setting up seven-day services.

The pioneers will be supported by a central team that will help them overcome barriers to integration.

Lamb said the council and NHS partnerships would not only be looking at information sharing and improving IT but also how to ensure the way health providers are paid by commissioners prevents ill-health. The current payment-by-results system is widely seen as having sucked resources into acute hospitals that could be better spent in the community.

NHS in a ‘time warp’

“A key part is the ability to make the system digital. Most industries have seen efficiencies from digitisation but the NHS is locked in a time warp where faxes are still flying around,” said Lamb.

He acknowledged governments in the past had spent a fortune on trying to set up a national IT system that got nowhere, but said he felt smaller steps were the way forward, such as making sure councils used people’s NHS numbers so that they could be tracked across the system.

While the integration of health and social care has been the goal of both national and local government for over a decade, recent funding cuts have seen some efforts undermined by partners withdrawing funding or professionals from joint teams.

However, Lamb said he felt there was now an “understanding from everyone that that is the worst thing they can do and will cost everyone more in the long run”.

He said the pioneer projects would be robustly evaluated. Those who missed out on the bid to become one of the 14 will form a virtual network that can still feed in information and learning.

Sandie Keene, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said many of those not chosen to be a pioneer site would have been deemed too far down the road of integration already. “Others will have only narrowly missed out on what was a wide range of very exacting criteria indeed,” she added.

The 14 pioneer areas are:

Barnsley– Will set up a new centralised monitoring area to assess emergency cases and ensure the right help is dispatched quickly to the relevant patient.

Cheshire– Will focus on people with long-term conditions and families with complex needs, ensuring they have a single record and only have to tell their story once.

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly– 15 organisations will come together to prevent people falling through gaps and provide early intervention.

Greenwich– Multidisciplinary teams will respond to emergencies in the community within 24 hours, treating them at home or with short-term residential care. It has already prevented over 2000 patient admissions, reduced delayed discharges for those over 65 and saved £1m from the social care budget.

Islington– Will develop individual joint care plans for both health and social care ensuring patients have a single point of contact.

Leeds– Dedicated teams to care for the elderly and those with long-term conditions will be expanded to include teams looking at preventing hospital admissions and supporting early discharge. Patients will also be able to access all their information online.

Kent– A new workforce will be recruited with the skills to deliver integrated care with a focus on reducing care home admissions and increasing independence amongst the frail and elderly.

North West London– A single care plan for physical and mental health and social care needs will be created so patients have a single point of contact.

North Staffordshire– Clinical commissioning groups will team up with Macmillan Cancer Support to create a single organisation responsible for the overall provision of cancer care and another for end-of-life care.

South Devon and Torbay– Will move to seven-day services that will include mental health and GP services.

Southend– No information available

South Tyneside– Will provide a greater range of support options in the community so GPs and social workers can help clients help themselves, increase family support and install telecare options.

Waltham Forest and East London and City– Will create a single care plan with a single point of contact for patients.

Worcestershire– Will develop a cross-area policy to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and the length of time patients stay in hospital.

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One Response to Lamb unveils areas that will lead ‘quiet revolution’ in health and social care integration

  1. Sophie November 6, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Here in lancashire we have a multidisciplinary team React which provides services to prevent hospital admissionss, provide early discharges and provide services in the community within the first 24 hour to 48 hour time period.