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Fourteen areas gain ‘integration pioneer’ status

Fourteen areas have been selected for the Government’s integration pioneer scheme, which will see them getting support and advice in integrating services from a range of NHS bodies and regulators.

The 14 pioneers from across England were selected from 111 applicants, and they will develop integrated services with the help of Public Health England, Monitor, NHSIQ, Health Education England and the Local Government Authority among others.

The areas selected are Barnsley, Cheshire, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Greenwich, Islington, Leeds, Kent, North West London, North Staffordshire, South Devon and Torbay, Southend, South Tyneside, Waltham Forest and East London and City and Worcestershire.

Monitor’s director for pricing development and integrated care Catherine Pollard, said that GP leadership – including on coordinating care across systems and creating electronic care records for patients – would be a strong feature amongst pioneers, while some were also focused directly around GP practice federations (including for example in North West London).

Ms Pollard, who sat on the final selection panel for the integrated care pioneers, said: ‘We have got a really good regional spread from the tip of the south to the tip of the north and a really good mix of urban and rural areas.’

‘There were some areas that did not get selected despite having some really good ideas because they either covered a very small area or were really starting from a blank piece of paper. But we have always said that there may be scope for more pioneers in the future.’

‘There were 14 which we found had a good track record, including good local relationships and who had engaged properly with patients and service users – and had sufficiently concrete plans that we could see them get off the ground quite quickly.’

Ms Pollard highlighted the successful bid from Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for GP leadership.

She said: ‘The Cornwall bid is very strong on GP leadership. They have piloted around GP practices in Newquay and are now looking at scaling that across general practices in south Cornwall.’

In total, 111 areas applied to gain integration pioneer status in a bid to gain special attention through support and advice from a range of partners behind the scheme including Public Health England, Monitor, NHSIQ, Health Education England and the Local Government Authority.

Norman Lamb, care and support minister, said: ‘Too often care is uncoordinated, leaving too many people needlessly entering the revolving door of their local A&E again and again, because somewhere in the system their care has broken down.’

‘We have heard people talk about integration before, but it has never truly taken hold across the NHS. These pioneers are a starting gun for the NHS and social care to achieve a common goal – to get local health and care services working together, not separately, in the interests of the people that they all serve.’

‘We need to preserve the NHS, and through an integrated approach we can achieve better results for patients and make the money go further, while making necessary savings. These 14 pioneers will test new ways of working for everyone to learn from, and drive forward genuine change for the future.’

What the DH said about the pioneers

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly ‘Fifteen organisations from across health and social care, including local councils, charities, GPs, social workers and community service will come together to transform the way health, social care and the voluntary and community sector work together. This is about relieving pressures on the system and making sure patients are treated in the right place. Teams will come together to prevent people from falling through the gaps between organisations.’

‘Instead of waiting for people to fall into ill-health and a cycle of dependency, the pioneer team will work proactively to support people to improve their health and wellbeing. The pioneer will measure success by asking patients about their experiences of care and measuring falls and injuries in the over 65s.’

North West London – ‘The care of North West London’s two million residents is set to improve with a new drive to integrate health and social care across the eight London boroughs. Local people will be supported by GPs who will work with community practitioners, to help residents remain independent. People will be given a single point of contact who will work with them to plan all aspects of their care taking into account all physical, mental and social care needs.’

‘Prevention and early intervention will be central – by bringing together health and social care far more residents will be cared for at or closer to home reducing the number of unplanned emergency admissions to hospitals. The outcomes for patients and their experiences of care are also expected to increase. Financial savings are also expected with the money saved from keeping people out of hospital unnecessarily being ploughed back into community and social care services.’

Source: Department of Health