West Norfolk could be a service ‘pioneer’

Health News from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
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An ambitious proposal to improve health and social care services could see West Norfolk becoming one of the country’s first “integration pioneers”.

A bid by West Norfolk Health and Social Care Alliance to become a pioneering area for integrated services has been short listed by the Department of Health and its national partners.

The initiative was launched by health minister Norman Lamb earlier this year and will provide support for 10 sites across the country working to explore how they can integrate their health and social care services to provide the best possible care for patients.

The aim is for pioneers to champion their ideas across the NHS to provide the inspiration for large-scale change.

The West Norfolk bid involves 10 organisations, led by NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (WN CCG) and Norfolk County Council.

It would see the organisations working in a multi-agency approach to help improve patient experiences by bringing together services and sharing information.

The West Norfolk Health and Social Care Alliance comprises:

• Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services

• Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

• West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group

• Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

• Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation trust

• The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn

• West Norfolk Voluntary and Community Action

• Freebridge Community Housing

• The College of West Anglia

• Norfolk Independent Care

Significant strides have already been made in West Norfolk with the area benefitting from an Integrated Care Organisation (ICO) pilot. Community health and social care teams and the creation of a ‘Prevention First’ partnership are also helping support older people to stay independent and well in the community.

The pioneer bid examines how this existing base of integration can move to a larger scale, whole-system, collaborative change in the whole West Norfolk health and social care system.

If successful, the Integrated Pioneer Programme would see the extension of ICO health and social care teams to include district council, voluntary and independent partners. It would connect older people with their communities, their specialist health and social care services and their local care providers.

The West Norfolk Health and Social Care Alliance’s bid states: “We are now ambitious to work in a radically different framework and have established a model where the district council, voluntary and independent sector providers are now seen as crucial partners.

“We will connect older people with their communities, their specialist health and care services and their local care providers in a radically new way. This model will ensure that practitioners drive what’s right for patients using new permissions, transcending organisational boundaries, challenging the current financial incentives and assumptions. It will release the innovation to transform the outcomes for people in West Norfolk.”

The bid was short listed from over 100 expressions of interest. A selection panel will interview all shortlisted candidates in September before making a final decision.

Sue Crossman, Chief Officer of WN CCG, said: “We are delighted to have been short listed to become an Integration Pioneer and are now preparing for the next stage in the selection process.

“It can be very frustrating for patients and carers to be passed from one agency to another without getting the help they need. We want to support older people to stay well in the community and break down the barriers to people receiving comprehensive and well-coordinated health and social care.”

Sue Whitaker, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Norfolk County Council, said: “It is excellent news that West Norfolk’s bid had been shortlisted. Norfolk has a higher ageing population than the national average and we know that the demand for specialist services for older people is going to increase over the next few years.

“Anything to help integrate services, and therefore skills and knowledge, can only be a good thing. This is a really exciting, pioneering project which has the potential for Norfolk to lead the way in the future direction of health and social care in the UK.”

The West Norfolk Health and Social Care Alliance remains committed to this new model of working whether or not the bid is successful. Partners believe this approach will improve the quality of the patient and carer experience and have agreed a commitment to develop it.