Plaudits and ministerial visit for Greenwich Pioneers

Norman Lamb MP, seated right, in conversation with patients Tom Ducey and Maureen Luxford, while Cllr John Fahy (standing) looks on.
Norman Lamb MP, seated right, in conversation with patients Tom Ducey and Maureen Luxford, while Cllr John Fahy (standing) looks on.

Our successful work with partners in Greenwich to deliver better joined up health and social care for patients was recognised last week as we were named as one of the Government's 'pioneers' in a new national scheme.

Minister of State for Care and Support, Mr Norman Lamb, MP, came to the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) recently to mark the announcement of 14 such integration pioneer sites. Mr Lamb visited Memorial Hospital in Shooters Hill, where he met staff and patients who have benefitted from the innovative partnership working from health and social care staff in the borough.

We are a key member of the Greenwich Pioneer partnership along with a number of other agencies including RBG. Joined up working enables health and social care professionals to better meet the needs of individuals with complex problems and their carers. Building on a strong foundation of integrated work between health and social care - and the impact of the award winning Joint Emergency Team (JET), the pioneer initiative will build new bridges between integrated care teams and general practice.

New teams will be developed which will include GPs, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. They will create integrated care plans for a targeted group of service users. They will respond to emergencies and help people who could be treated at home or through short term residential care to stay out of hospital.

After the visit, Mr Lamb said: "This week I visited the Memorial Hospital in Greenwich, one of our 14 integrated care pioneers, where over 2,000 patient admissions have already been avoided thanks to interventions by the Joint Emergency Team. This amazing team responds to alerts within care homes, A&E departments and GP surgeries. For example, working together with carers and nurses, they have ensured those with severe mobility problems have access to equipment and therapies keeping them out of hospital."

While at Memorial Mr Lamb spoke to staff and patients. He met two local residents whose lives had been turned around because of the joined up working.

Builder Tom Ducey, 46, from Plumstead, had severe weight problems for two years, suffering leg ulcers and depression. He needed a Zimmer frame to walk and couldn’t manage at home. He said: “It all started to change when my sister made just one phone call. The health and social care people stepped in. They changed my life completely, giving me exercises to do, with physio and occupational therapy, and a diet plan to follow. They kept with me to make sure I would be able to look after myself.

“Before they helped me I was more than 40 stone and hadn’t worked for two years. I’ve now lost 21 stone and feel completely different, and I’m determined to go back to my job. The whole system worked for me, after just one phone call. It’s an incredible service.”

Maureen Luxford, 75, from Eltham, faced the prospect of going into residential care after heart surgery meant she had difficulties living at home. But the pioneering service changed all that, with four daily visits. Former waitress Maureen said: “Immediately I came out of hospital the team came in to help me get up in the morning and get dressed, bring me lunch, and come again in the evening. It’s a wonderful service and nothing is too much trouble for them. They have given me so much confidence.”

Mr Lamb said: “To hear these stories about people getting great care is very inspiring. I’m determined to get this sort of care everywhere. We can do things in a much smarter way, like here in Greenwich, with people coming together to make it work.”

Jane Wells, our Director of Adult Community Services, said: "We are delighted that we have been chosen as a Pioneer for health and social care. This recognises the great, practical and patient focussed work that has been led by staff on the ground. It gives us the opportunity for more joined up working which will further improve the health and social care package that people receive."

Cllr John Fahy, the Royal Borough’s Cabinet Member for Health, Adults and Older People, said: “The voluntary sector is doing an enormous amount to help with this scheme, and we have maintained our funding for them because of the importance of what they do.”

The Greenwich Pioneer partners are: the Royal Borough of Greenwich; Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group; Oxleas; Greenwich Action for Voluntary Services; Healthwatch; Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and primary care.

Related information

Published on 7th November 2013