After Conservative national government ministers made a complete mess of preparations for the better care fund local authorities who had been committed ot making it work had to delay submissions and do substantial rework.
Generally it reflects the level of determination in Reading – including in the Council and the local NHS – to ensure that services reflect people’s needs rather than simply suit service providers. Reading will remain ambitious to ensure more residents thrive despite decreased funding and increased demand.
Council press release:
Reading Fast Tracked for Health and Social Care Funding
Reading Borough Council Press Release
The Better Care Fund is not new money, but is moving funding to community based services.
Reading – in common with the rest of the country – is under pressure to reduce hospital admissions. A key component of the Reading BCF bid is to care for people at home as long as possible in a safe, clinical environment. A ‘Hospital at Home Service’ will also help patients who need initial intensive 24 hour support and treatment that can be managed at home, with follow-up community-based care.
The announcement means Reading is one of only five local authorities to be given the chance to fast-track their integrated health and social care plans.
Overall, the successful Council and CCG bid sets out ways to keep individuals at the centre of a co-ordinated and improving health and care system; highlights how to protect family and community connections for those with care and support needs; and aims to make the entire care experience a more positive one.
Reading Lead Member for Health, Cllr Graeme Hoskin said:
“We are facing huge challenges in providing good health and care services in the face of rising demand and government cuts to our budgets.
“Whilst I am disappointed that the Better Care Fund comes from cuts to other areas, particularly NHS and hospital budgets, we’re determined to make the most of it by really improving joined-up services that put patients and people who use services at the heart everything.
“The Reading BCF bid team are to be congratulated on the immense amount of work that went into submitting these proposals in what was a sometimes complicated process!”
Cllr Rachel Eden, Lead Member for Adult Social Care said:
“Reading Council is committed to supporting residents live fulfilling lives whatever their needs. The Better Care Fund bid is just part of the action the council and its partners are taking locally including building extra care housing and raising homecare standards through improved working conditions. This is in the face of considerable pressure due to sustained cuts from central government.
“This announcement reflects the level of determination in Reading – including the Council and the local NHS – to ensure that services reflect people’s needs rather than simply suit service providers. Reading will remain ambitious to ensure more residents thrive despite decreased funding and increased demand.”
Dr Rod Smith, Chair N&W Reading CCG said:
“These plans demonstrate our ability to think innovatively and creatively and work across organisational boundaries despite the challenges ahead for our local health and social care system. Our services will be delivered around the needs of the individual, rather than the organisation providing the service. It is essential the journey for people through our health and social care system is seamless and consistent seven days a week.”
Dr Elizabeth Johnston, Chair, South Reading CCG said:
“With an increasingly ageing population we need deliver care in a different way. Reading residents have told us that they want health and social care to work better together. The Better Care Fund enables us to reduce gaps in the system and ensure people are cared for in their own homes for as long as possible instead of going into hospital or a care home.”
For those patients where hospital admissions are unavoidable and who are likely to need longer-term nursing care, support will be provided through the ‘Time to Think’ beds initiative. This will enable people to make care decisions outside the often stressful hospital environment and will promote faster hospital discharge.
Effective partnership working is the catalyst for integrating health and social care teams at a neighbourhood level based around GP practices, and by connecting care through the use of shared IT systems, eliminating the need for multiple assessments.
Reading – along with Liverpool, Nottinghamshire, Sunderland and Wiltshire – was praised by the Department of Health for the “real potential” of its bid and is being allowed to fast-track the completion of these plans.
Andrew Ridley, the Better Care Fund’s programme director, said:
“To have their plans approved before the national deadline demonstrates how dedicated these areas are to transforming services for local people.
“Their plans show great ambition and will inspire the rest of the country as the remaining plans are finalised.”