A senior figure from the Department of Health has seen first hand one of the best examples of integrated care in the country.
Una O’Brien CB, permanent secretary at the Department of Health, visited Wansbeck General Hospital last Friday to meet health and social care staff employed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
For more than 10 years, the trust has been working with Northumberland County Council to develop fully joined-up ways of working to ensure seamless health and social care for people in the county – with more than 500 council staff transferring to the trust in April 2011.
Daljit Lally, director of community services at the trust and director of adult services at the council, said: “We have a very strong relationship between the NHS and the local authority in Northumberland which is built on solid foundations of trust and an ethos which firmly puts our patients’ wellbeing at the centre of all care decisions.
“We are delighted that Ms O’Brien requested a visit to Northumberland to see how our integrated services work.
“Our frontline health and social care staff do a truly remarkable job working as part of fully-integrated multi-disciplinary teams to ensure patients have the exact support and help they need – not only when they are in hospital, but when they are at home.”
During her visit, Ms O’Brien met frontline health and social care teams at the hospital who work together to look after frail elderly patients from the moment they are admitted to hospital, to make sure they have the right care and support to return home and live independently.
Afterwards, she said: “It was great to see the NHS and local authority working in partnership in the interests of patients.
“It has been a pleasure to meet all of the various health and social care staff at Wansbeck General Hospital who are working in this way.”