Image demonstrating New approach to integrated support for Northumberland communities to be agreed

New approach to integrated support for Northumberland communities to be agreed

Communities in Northumberland are set to benefit from an innovative new model for supporting adults with long-term care and support needs.

The proposal is to develop a collaborative partnership, in which adult social care services will be one element in a wider integrated approach to supporting people with care and support needs in the community.

The move will see Northumberland County Council working increasingly closely with GP practices, mental health services and the voluntary and community sector, to provide bespoke support for Northumberland residents.

There are also potential opportunities for closer integration with other Council services, including children’s services (0-19) and the preventative community support which is now being provided by Northumberland Communities Together (NCT), a community network hosted by the Council.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Children’s Services at Northumberland County Council said: “The pandemic has seen teams from across the public sector working together more effectively than ever before, and we want to build on what has been achieved in Northumberland, and take it forward in new and innovative ways.

“Adult Social Care and Public Health staff are already working closely with our Northumberland Communities Together team providing invaluable support to communities during the pandemic by connecting, strengthening and supporting adults and young people in local communities to improve health and life chances”.

“Our aim is for all the professionals involved in a person’s care, support, therapy and treatment, to be able to operate as seamlessly as possible, sharing skills, information and capacity, and taking joint responsibility for ensuring that the person is always at the centre.”

Under a 2011 partnership agreement with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland County Council delegated provision of most adult social care functions to the Trust, including: care management, community rehabilitation services, some specialist learning disability services and a variety of business support functions.

In 2020, the Council proposed a new model for the integration of community-based health and care services for people with long-term disabling health conditions. This would have had separate governance arrangements, which might have involved additional NHS partners such as primary care and mental health services, to support closer integration with key health services outside the Trust.

The Trust did not feel able to support this proposal, and came to the view that new opportunities associated with the national policy for Integrated Care Systems (ICS) meant that the formal partnership agreement was no longer necessary. As a result, the formal partnership agreement between the Council and the Trust will end on 30 September 2021.

Cath McEvoy-Carr said: “We continue to believe that the best way to support people with disabling long-term conditions is through integrated front-line health and social care services, delivered locally.

“The end of the existing partnership provides an opportunity to refocus and enhance the Council’s commitment to integrated care, delivered locally to communities working with many partners including primary care and the voluntary and community sector as well as our regional NHS trusts.

“While the link between acute hospitals and social care remains extremely important, we believe that integration with primary care and mental health services should be our key priorities over the next few years.”

The proposal for the new model will be presented to Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Oversight and Scrutiny Committee on 2 August 2021.
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