A new, integrated approach to delivering health and social care is paying dividends for people in South Tyneside, councillors will be told.
New integrated teams made up of district nurses and community matrons from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside Council’s social workers and occupational therapists have been rolled out across the Borough following successful pilot projects in Hebburn and Jarrow.
Members of South Tyneside Council will be told that the new approach is leading to better outcomes for people as well as improved information-sharing and less duplication.
There are six teams across the Borough, each of which is aligned to a small number of GP practices, providing care consistently to the patients registered at each practice.
The teams are supported by a ‘social navigator’ who helps people to understand and access other support available in the community such as disabled gym access or befriending services.
People receiving care and support from the integrated teams have a care co-ordinator who is the patient’s main point of contact and will make arrangements to ensure that the person’s changing needs can be met. The teams have received ‘self-care’ training to help people take more control of their own health and wellbeing.
The initiative is part of the Borough’s ‘Pioneer’ status for health and social care integration, which sees the Council and local NHS organisations working closely together through the South Tyneside Partnership.
By working more closely together, the teams are able to deliver more cohesive and appropriate care and support more quickly.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing said: “Evaluation of the pilot projects show that the integrated teams are delivering real and positive change for local people.
“Feedback from users of the service has been incredibly positive which demonstrates that by working more closely and putting people at the centre of everything they do, these integrated teams are transforming the way health and social care is delivered in the Borough.”
Councillors will be told that a new integrated digital care record is currently being developed which will safely and securely bring together information from all partners’ databases. This will facilitate the sharing of information quickly across teams and deliver best quality information at the point of care.
Dr Matthew Walmsley, a local GP and Chair of NHS South Tyneside CCG, said: “With nurses, social workers and therapists working more closely with family doctors, our frailer patients can now get better care and easier access to the services they need. It’s great that we can now link people in with other things going on in their community to help keep them feeling healthier and happier.”
Michelle Arrowsmith, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “By working with our social care colleagues in such an integrated way, we believe that we are able to serve patients in the local community much more effectively. The emphasis is on wrapping individualised care around the patient in a way that meets their specific needs and the feedback about the service that our health professionals have received so far has been very positive.”
Councillors will receive a further update on the integrated teams later this year.