It’s better when we’re together

Warwickshire has received approval to proceed with plans to join up health and social care services and budgets with its submission for the Better Care Fund.

The Better Care Fund is a national Government programme that has identified £3.8bn of existing NHS and local authority funding to be pooled to promote joint working and transform services for older people.

In Warwickshire this equates to £36m which will be used to roll out the programme, locally known as Warwickshire Cares: Better Together. The plan, outlining how Warwickshire’s resources will be used to improve outcomes for people, has been approved by the county’s health and social care governing bodies.and also by a national quality assurance team.

Warwickshire Cares: Better Together aims to improve people’s experience of health and social care services and create new ways for services to work together to meet needs now and in the future. A key theme is to help people stay well and be supported in their own homes and communities for longer.

Cllr Jose Compton, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, sets the scene. She said: “The concept of social care and health services working together is not new but this is the first time that budgets and resources and decision making will be truly shared and centrally managed.

“It is not just about saving time and money, the approach places customers firmly at its heart and their needs and opinions will influence the type of care and support they receive and how this support is provided.”

Over time customers can expect to see more community services based around GP practices and greater opportunity to choose and manage their own care. There will be more information available to help people adopt healthy lifestyles, maintain good health, and to act early to reduce the need for care in the future. With community services working more closely around each other and more people understanding and taking control of the support they need and want, unnecessary hospital admissions can be avoided.

Cllr Jose Compton, continued: “We know from talking to our customers that it is important for people to feel in control of what is happening to them, they want to maintain their independence and they want carecloser to home. Our customers are central to making this programme a success for Warwickshire and we will continue to work with them.

“We have recently launched an artist led project called ‘Postcards from a Journey’ to capture people’s experiences and views of the current health and social care systems and are looking for customers, patients and carers to take part.”

Cllr Maggie O’Rourke Chair of Warwickshire County Council’s Adult Overview and Scrutiny committee added: “This approach should help deliver the right care in the right place at the right time for people. We hope that by joining forces with health and empowering individuals and communities to make informed choices and access services directly we can make the best possible use of our limited resources.”

Quote: NHS/CCG: “Warwickshire Cares: Better Together plays a critical role in the NHS’s 2 year operational and 5 year strategic plans, and is integral to Local Government planning.  It provides local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups with a real opportunity to improve services and deliver value for money. At the same time we can protect and improve social care services by transferring resources from acute care into community and preventative settings. We firmly believe we can be better together and hope to prove this through improved working practice.”

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