Cumbria Crack

Work to join up health and care will keep more people out of hospital

stethoscope[P]eople in North Cumbria will be more likely to avoid a stay in hospital next year thanks to the next stage of work to join up health and care services.

From January, rapid response will be rolled out across the eight Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) in North Cumbria to provide additional support for people who can receive the care they need at home, rather than in hospital.

The rapid response function will bring together a range of health and care professionals who will provide immediate, short term help to keep people out of hospital, or if they are admitted to hospital, to get them home quickly by making sure they have the right support in place.

The Rapid Response function will be co-ordinated by the local ICC hub – a group of health and care professionals with a thorough understanding of the needs of local people. They will include professionals from Adult Social Care and community health such as occupational therapists and nurses who will all work closely with the individual’s GP. The support they provide could range from nursing and therapy input to equipment, rehabilitation and advice.

Stephen Eames, Lead for North Cumbria Health and Care System, explained: “We know that by offering more intensive health and care services into people’s homes and communities that we can prevent them from coming into hospital in the first place. The development of Rapid Response will help us to provide care quickly, where it’s need most. This is a big step in joining up our health and care services and it’s great news for patients.”

The rapid response function and ICC hubs in Copeland, Workington and Carlisle are expected to be up and running from January with the remaining ICCs following in the spring. This is one of the steps to developing fully integrated care across North Cumbria.

Staff from community services provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and Adult Social Care at Cumbria County Council, have already been involved in discussions about working closer together and how this might work. Brenda Smith, Corporate Director, Health, Care and Community services at Cumbria County Council, added: “There’s lots of enthusiasm from health and care staff to get going with these changes. It’s really about breaking down barriers so we can provide seamless care and that can only be a good thing. Working closer will help us to get the most out of our limited resources and provide care where it’s needed most.

Healthwatch Cumbria has provided support to help members of the public understand the changes. David Blacklock, Chief Executive, commented:
“It is clear that things have to change. People often tell us how frustrating it is to explain their story several times or spend longer in hospital than they need to because of delays in coordinating care.”

“We know that a lot of work is taking place to consider how health and care services should be delivered in the future. Healthwatch Cumbria will be focused on ensuring that people are involved in as many ways as possible in helping to shape the services they will use in the future. It is only in this way that services will be developed that are truly person centred.”

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