MPs from across East Sussex last week visited the Conquest hospital in Hastings to meet with leaders from the Clinical Commissioning Groups, East Sussex County Council and East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to discuss a new approach to healthcare delivery across East Sussex. The MPs were keen to find out how local hospitals are positioned as the winter months approach and discuss the partnership of East Sussex’s integrated acute and primary healthcare with social care delivery.
Health leaders attending the meeting were Amanda Philpott, Chief Officer, and Dr David Warden Chairman of the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group; Dr David Walker, Medical Director of ESHT; Catherine Ashton Director of Strategy at ESHT, Cllr Keith Glazier, Leader of East Sussex County Council; and Keith Hinkley, Director of Adult Social Care at East Sussex County Council. Between them they explained to the MPs attending, Amber Rudd, Caroline Ansell and Huw Merriman, that the strategy for improving healthcare in East Sussex lay within the East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) programme. This approach will see the £850m annual health and social care budget shared across a fully integrated health and social care system by 2018. The partnership will ensure that every patient and service user will receive joined up care that supports them to live as independently as possible and achieve the best possible health outcomes.
The MPs heard how the East Sussex Better Together programme has already implemented a number of improvements including a single point for health professionals to access support; integrated social and community care under one management structure; a frailty practitioner service for over-75s and the creation of prevention teams together for high-risk members of our community.
The results so far have been encouraging with significant improvements in response times for referrals to the integrated health and social care teams, a reduction in admissions to hospitals as a result of the new Falls service and a higher number of people able to stay in their home rather than entering hospital.
Huw Merriman said, “There has been much talk in the national media about NHS sustainability and transformation plans and the resultant impact on the health service. It is refreshing that our local NHS leaders are enabling our primary and social care services to work better together to not only find efficiencies which can be recycled back in to the local health and care services but also deliver an integrated adult social care and clinical care service. This can only benefit patients and be more rewarding for the staff in the health service who do so much for us locally.”
Amber Rudd said, “I am delighted to hear that the East Sussex Better Together programme now being implemented by our local NHS leaders is combining adult social care with clinical care to deliver the best possible health outcomes for patients.”
Caroline Ansell added, “Integrating health and social care is squarely in the best interests of patients and I welcome the innovations discussed at the meeting, a meeting which also afforded me the opportunity to raise questions from Eastbourne on the current strategic transformation plans and reconfigured services.”