Headlines: February 3rd, 2015

The programme to promote innovative ways of joining up health and social care is being extended to eleven new areas.

The aim is to make health and social care services work together to provide better support at home and earlier treatment in the community to prevent people needing emergency care in hospital or care homes.

The new integrated care pioneer areas are Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Fylde Coast, Camden, Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Sheffield, South Somerset, Vale of York, Wakefield and West Norfolk.

The Integrated Care Pioneers Programme report sets out the experiences of the first 14 areas to take part in the programme. It provides examples of best practise to help other areas to develop innovative ways of joining up their health and social care services.

These pioneers have shown that, by working together to prevent people becoming ill, they can reduce hospital admissions, reduce the amount of care people need, and save money.

Pioneers are local areas that are covered by a clinical commissioning group or local authority, or larger area. They use innovative approaches to delivering integrated health and social care services and work across the whole of their local health, public health and care and support systems, and with other local authorities to achieve and demonstrate the scale of change needed.

As part of the programme, the National Collaboration for Integrated Care provided expertise and constructive challenge to help the pioneers succeed and increase the rate of change.

New funds are being provided to encourage more joint working between councils and the NHS.

In a bid to ease the pressure on the NHS during the current cold snap, the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department of Health have released an extra £37 million for councils to get people home from hospital more quickly and stop them from being admitted in the first place.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also provided £12 million to help join up health and social care services so that there aren’t delays for people who can be safely discharged and to avoid people needing to go to hospital in the first plac.

The money will mean up to 3,500 more people a week will get home from hospital more quickly this winter, with the local authority putting in place carers and equipment to meet their needs, freeing up much-needed hospital beds within the NHS.

The extra cash is on top of the £700 million the Department of Health has found for the NHS to help manage its winter pressures and a further £25 million that councils have already been given this month to help speed up the discharge system.

It also comes ahead of the introduction in April 2015 of a £5.3 billion Better Care Fund, which will start to transform the way the NHS and councils work together to put people first and enable them live at home with dignity and independence for longer.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:”Social services have to be part of the solution to the high demand on hospitals at the moment. We know that they can help by getting people home more quickly when it is safe to do so once they have been discharged. And we also know that the best social care can prevent some people from having to go to A&E in the first place by supporting the elderly to live with dignity and independence at home.”

“From April our £5.3 billion Better Care Fund will start to transform the way we join up health and social care so that there aren’t separate systems and phone numbers for solving the same problems. It will prevent up to 160,000 A&E admissions and save over £500 million in the year ahead. But with hospitals under pressure in the cold weather this winter we have also found extra money to help out now.”

Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb added: “We planned for winter earlier than ever this year and we constantly review what additional measures we can take to ease the pressure on services. This new funding means that every local authority now has extra money to help tackle the pressures on hospitals. We know the NHS is busier than ever before, which is why we’ve given a record £700 million this winter for almost 800 more doctors, 4,700 more nurses and 6,400 more beds.”