Integrated care in Greenwich scoops national award

Our Pioneer scheme in Greenwich for integrated health and social care - which is helping reduce hospital admissions while making services more responsive to local people - has scooped Gold in a national award ceremony to promote innovation in the public sector.

Greenwich Coordinated Care - developed by Oxleas in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the local voluntary sector - has already won praise from within the care and health sectors, from Government ministers and from healthcare experts. On Tuesday 4 March it was awarded Gold in the Transformation in Health and Social Care category at the Improvement and Efficiency Awards 2014. The awards are hosted by the Improvement and Efficiency Social Enterprise (iESE) which promotes innovation and efficiency in the public sector.

Service Director for Adult Community Services, Jane Wells, collected the award with Royal Borough of Greenwich's Senior Assistant Director, Adult and Older People's Services, Jay Stickland. Jane said: "Jay and I were absolutely thrilled to accept the award on behalf of our amazing teams in recognition of their commitment to integrated care. The model that’s been developed in Greenwich has an important contribution to make to the development of integrated services. Key to the success of this approach has been the commitment of all the agencies to working in a joined-up way, and to involve staff and patients in helping to shape services.”

Greenwich is one of 14 authorities to be declared ‘pioneers’ by the Government in the development of integrated health and social care, helping to share best practice among health and social care colleagues nationally.

A key feature of the Greenwich approach is that it allows people to be cared for in the community rather than in hospital. This care may be provided in their own homes or in intermediate care facilities until they can return home. The ethos is to give people time and support to regain their independence wherever possible.

The six fully integrated teams that have been created so far have NHS and local authority staff working under an integrated management, sharing resources and offering a single point of access for service users. The teams include nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and care managers. The model in Greenwich is now being widened to include mental health services, GPs, district nursing and the voluntary sector, with the aim being to develop fully integrated health and social care services centred around GP surgeries. This approach has been tested in Eltham since November 2013 with the intention of rolling it out to other parts of the borough.

Success measures for the integrated approach to health and social care include:

  • significant reductions in delayed hospital discharges for patients over 65 years old - achieved with fewer members of staff than before
  • improvement in the number of A&E attendances and overall hospital admissions avoided (7% and 27% respectively)
  • a 7% reduction in clients needing long term care
  • an increased use of assistive technology (up by 21%), and a reduction in the number of service users requiring home care after reablement
  • 64% of all people assisted through the service require no ongoing support from statutory authorities (the London average is 50%)
  • savings of £900,000 to the local authority’s care budget, and of 5.5% to NHS community health budgets.

Local GP, Dr Rebecca Rosen, who has led for NHS Greenwich CCG on the development of integrated services, said: “For too long, health professionals and care professionals have lived in separate silos - not only working in separate ways but even using different language. As well as being less efficient, this has not offered the continuity of service that patients need and deserve.

“We are at a very exciting point in Greenwich, as we start to bring the integrated approach into GP surgeries. This offers a great opportunity for creating services that are ‘wrapped around’ the patient and their needs – something that is potentially quite radical.”

Success in the award followed hot on the heels of a visit earlier in the day by the author of an independent commission report on integrated health and social care, Sir John Oldham OBE who was joined by Andy Burnham MP and Liz Kendall MP. To mark the national launch of the commission’s report, entitled One Person, One Team, One System, they met with service users, frontline staff, councillors and managers in Greenwich, to hear about the Royal Borough’s pioneering approach to integrated care.

Sir John said, “I have known the integrated care work in Greenwich for a few years. It has changed many lives in Greenwich, and through our report One Person, One Team, One System it will have the chance to influence what happens to millions in the country.”

Published on 12th March 2014