Minister gets first-hand chance to see joined-up care

Minister Alistair Burt learns about pioneering work from our staff at Eltham Community Hospital.

Pioneering work in Greenwich to integrate health and social care was in the spotlight today as Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt visited to hear about the way in which a new approach to services is improving the lives of local residents.

The Minister, who came into post after the General Election, was keen to see first-hand how joining up health and care services is working successfully on the ground. He met people who have benefited from this approach, and heard about the positive impact this has had on the quality of their lives.

He chose Greenwich as it is one of 14 ‘pioneers’ selected by the Government in 2013 as part of its development of integrated health and social care. Greenwich and other pioneers are playing a leading role in helping share best practice among health and social care colleagues nationally.

State-of-the-art facility

His visit took place at the new Eltham Community Hospital, which opened its doors to its first patients earlier this year. The two intermediate care wards play a vital role in helping patients make the transition from hospital to home and will enable those people needing some extra care to be looked after in a community setting, reducing the level of admissions to hospital. These wards are the first in a wide range of primary and community care services that will be provided from this new state-of-the-art facility.

On his visit today the Minister also met with councillors and social services professionals from the Royal Borough of Greenwich, commissioners from NHS Greenwich CCG, health professionals from the Coordinated Care team and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, representatives from the voluntary sector and Dr Rebecca Rosen, who has been lead GP working on the programme to integrate primary care, community care, social care and the voluntary sector

The work of these teams has brought significant improvements in the quality of support received by patients/services users, with outcomes including:

  • fewer unnecessary hospital admissions - despite the aging population Greenwich has improved from the worst in the country for emergency admission rates in 2004 to the 9th best
  • fewer people needing long term care
  • significant reductions in delayed hospital discharges for patients over 65 years old

Hardworking staff

Care Minister Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP said: “I am delighted to have visited the Eltham Community Hospital today - Greenwich Coordinated Care is leading the way in joining up health and social care. It's great to meet the patients and families who are benefiting from this integrated approach, as well as the hardworking staff who are making it happen. This is the future for the health service.”

Councillor David Gardner, the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said, “Greenwich is proud to be a pioneer in the integration of health and social care. By creating a joined-up approach and planning services around the needs of the individual, we are making a real difference to the lives of local people.”

Dr Rebecca Rosen, GP Clinical Commissioner for NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “In the past, too many patients were admitted to hospital and often faced long stays, which was frequently due to a lack of joined-up services.

“Today the story is very different. Our integrated system of health and social care is making services more responsive to local people while reducing hospital admissions, improving length of stays and cutting costs.”

Keith Soper, Director of Adult Community Health Services for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We are proud of what has been achieved so far, and are committed to taking the integrated approach forward to improve services still further, particularly for people with long term conditions and those with mental health needs. 

“Our goal is to retain the same ethos that has been developed in those services where it has already been operating – namely, a commitment to working across professional and institutional boundaries to ensure that the needs of the patients are our primary focus at all times.”

Published on 4th June 2015