Our efforts to improve health and social care services in Leeds by making them more joined-up were given a huge boost last week when the city was chosen to be a national pioneer site for integrated care.
Since then there’s been a buzz of excitement across social media and other channels about our new pioneer status, and conversations about what it might mean.
So what does it mean? After all – the council and NHS colleagues are working more closely together than ever before. Let’s look at just a few of the things that are happening already:
- We’ve set up 12 neighbourhood care teams where community nursing and social care staff work closely together.
- Mental health workers and social care teams are already integrated at various sites across the city.
- We have a new jointly commissioned short-term recovery centre (South Leeds Independence Centre).
- We’re developing a single care record (owned by the person themselves) that will pull together all the information about an individual’s treatment, care and support.
- We’re constantly strengthening ties with community organisations to ensure people have information about local options for activities and support.
- Health visiting and children’s centres have been brought together into a new, all-inclusive ‘early start’ service; there’s been joint investment in mental health services in local schools and a jointly commissioned infant mental health service.
The answer is that pioneer status isn’t about reinventing the wheel – it’s about the government recognising the good work that we’re doing here already (in a challenging financial environment) to improve people’s experience of local services, and helping us to build on it. As a pioneer site, we have been promised up to five years’ national support to go ‘further and faster’ with our ambitious plans for integration. In return, we’ll be expected to play our part in making integration ‘the norm’ by sharing learning and ideas with other parts of the country.
Further information about health and social care integration for adults in Leeds is available at www.leeds.gov.uk/transform. Read Integrated Care: Our Shared Commitment (Department of Health May 2013) at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/integrated-care