Joined up care, or integrated care means health and social care services and professionals working seamlessly together, with services delivered locally where possible.
Why are we joining up care?
People have told us they do not feel like the health and social care system works well for them. The system is complicated and delivered in an uncoordinated way.
Health and care professionals often work independently instead of together to look after people. Often people find it frustrating that they have to repeatedly describe their conditions and needs to each professional who provides their care. There is a common understanding that care delivered in the community across mental and physical health should be integrated and more joined up with the person’s needs at the centre.
What is an Integrated Care Organisation?
In 2016, we brought together staff from our NHS organisations and Council to create an Integrated Care Organisation (ICO). This is one of the first ICOs in England. The ICO has enabled more than 2,000 health and social care staff (including district nurses, social workers, hospital staff, and mental health professionals) to work within one organisation, creating a more streamlined service for people who use our services.
There are major benefits in creating an ICO for the people who live in our community and work in our services. Patients and service users now have faster access to services, there is a greater focus on mental health and long-term conditions and reduced duplication of their assessments and tests. Staff now have; access to a broader range of health and care specialists and the ability to provide better continuity of care, leading to improved staff satisfaction.
By working more closely together our teams of staff are able to discuss patient needs and develop shared care plans to make sure they get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.