Joint approach for better healthcare

SERVICES for health and social care are set to be combined, creating a ‘joined-up’ service for both children and adults, taking staff from the council and the NHS.

The move will see a new NHS Trust formed, with management from North Somerset Council joining healthcare professionals in one group, known provisionally as the Integrated Care Organisation.

The move will affect health providers across the county, including Weston General Hospital, Clevedon Hospital and GP surgeries.

Graham Turner, chief executive officer at the council, said: “They will be physically working and managed together in teams, so patients have a single point of contact.

“Because of the council’s budgetary position I have been tasked with reducing down the management team.

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“This is not about saving money. It is about trying to get a more joined-up way of caring for people.

“We are hoping to see staff for health and social care working together in one team to make sure people get the care they need, when they need it, where they need it, without delay.”

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The new organisation is looking to reduce hospital admissions, reduce the length of patients’ hospital stays and eliminate delays in discharges.

The service will also attempt to deal with the rising number of over-65s in North Somerset, estimated to reach 30 per cent of the population by 2025.

Weston Area Health Trust chief executive Peter Colclough said: “There is a great deal of evidence from other local authorities that joined-up services produces better results.”

Mr Turner added: “I think it is a fantastic opportunity and Peter and I are excited about this.

“There is a lot of detailed planning to do and hurdles to get over but it feels like the start of a new beginning.”

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