It will be the biggest improvement to front line community healthcare in a generation for Staffordshire people…
A big statement but unusually it’s a decision which is virtually impossible to over egg… even for a politician!
This is one of the biggest decisions ever taken by the County Council not only because of the transformation in healthcare service quality but also because it will involve £1.5billion from the County Council of public money. My Report to Cabinet colleagues yesterday was over 240 pages and the culmination of nearly two years work including numerous appearances by me before County Committees to be questioned on the plans.
We started planning for this shortly after coming to power in late 2009 and it involves bringing Staffordshire’s main three NHS organisations and County Council Social Services into one new public body.
Social Care services, currently run by the County Council, support all sorts of
people such as the elderly and those with mental health challenges, learning disabilities or physical disabilities. It is all about providing help for people to maintain, or regain, their independence and enjoy as normal a life as their circumstances can allow.
Very often that help is delivered in community settings such as an individual’s home or supported living places. It can also mean the difference between recovering from injury or trauma safely at home or ending up in hospital when there’s no real need to… it’s also discharge from hospital, when clinically well enough, and getting back home with support more quickly.
Clinical community health services, such as district nursing, physiotherapy and anything which is ‘medical’ in nature also support independent living and are provided to individuals by the NHS separately to the County Council.
But as individuals often need joint support from both Social Care and the NHS, and because they are currently delivered by different bodies across Staffordshire, things don’t join up too well. It’s a problem right across the UK.
No matter how hard the professionals try to coordinate visits and treatment the experience of patients is fragmented and the technical support systems don’t work properly together. And it was those problems that quickly became apparent in 2009 and led us to launch ambitious, and huge, plans to join things up.
As I wrote earlier, those plans were formally agreed by the County Cabinet yesterday. It ratified agreement last week by Staffordshire’s NHS meaning, that after due diligence with Government nationally, the operational strategy to make it happen in reality can start in earnest.
The establishment of the UK’s largest ever combined health and social care provider will also provide a crucial lever for improvements to the way the wider healthcare system in Staffordshire works collaboratively for the benefit of patients.
What we agreed yesterday is huge but the transformation of the wider system is even bigger and more complex still. You can view the follow on questions and discussion after my report here. The extra starts at 1hr 45mins 26 secs on the webcast.
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