FLEUR Blakeman, director of strategy and transformation at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and Caring Together programme director REGULAR readers of this column will have heard of the Caring Together programme that’s joining up health and social care services across Eastern Cheshire. Its aim is to provide communitybased care that helps people to stay well and supports people with long-term conditions to live independently at home – where they want to be.
In turn, the Caring Together approach will provide more services to be provided in our local communities, reducing unnecessary hospital visits.
This approach is in line with NHS England’s vision for healthcare as described in its Five-Year Forward View and General Practice Forward View.
One of the things that Caring Together is supporting is the development of community hubs that will operate out of GP surgeries. Two prototypes are being established to test this new approach - one in Knutsford and the other in Bollington, Disley and Poynton.
The approach in Bollington, Disley and Poynton will take the form of a “primary care home” offering all the services that people might need outside hospital.
The primary care home will serve around 33,000 people and be made up of a wide range of posts including GPs, nurses and therapists plus pharmacists, mental health teams, care co-ordinators, social workers and voluntary sector staff.
The idea is that these roles would be supported by other specialities (e.g. rheumatology teams) that are brought in as required.
The first meeting of the primary care home community hub model took place last month (April) when more than 100 people from a wide range of health and social care organisations discussed how they will work together to improve health and social care – especially to support frail, older people living alone.
Working groups will now start to shape these models.
The primary care home is a vital part of Caring Together because it will help people live healthy lifestyles, join up health and social care and reduce unnecessary hospital activity.