New approach to care of the elderly

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The growing numbers of frail elderly men and women in West Sussex will benefit from a new approach involving the integration of health and social care services, a County Hall meeting was told.

West Sussex County Council’s health and adult social care select committee heard the ‘proactive care’ programme would need pump-priming investment which was likely to be supported via NHS funds for social care.

A report said responsibility for implementating it was with clinical commissioning groups, but it could not be achieved without local authorities as key partners.

Select committee members agreed to support the approach being taken to proactive care across the county.

They also called for details of the financial implications and the cost of programmes to be circulated to them.

And they stipulated that relevant financial informatin should be included in all future reports to the committee.

Health and social care director Dr Mike Sadler told the meeting: “We have to look at the quality of care. There are some outstanding examples of high quality care, but most of us would be able quite easily to find some examples of care which has disintegrated, involving a number of different agencies.”

This sometimes resulted in not preventing deterioration which could have been prevented, a poorer quality of life, and people being admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

Proactive care would involve integrated services, and intervening earlier.

If this were done, they would support self-care and stop some of the repetition of detail and some of the duplication of services.

“We will make the best use of limited resources and keep people out of hospital - but only when they are better off out of hospital,” said Dr Sadler.

This would be improving what could at present be a fragmented service.

“A lot of evidence suggests proactive care is the right model, but we have to recognise that there is a range of barriers,” he added.

A huge amount of commitment from the organisations involved was needed.

James Walsh (LDem, Littlehampton East) said he would like to see a business case indicating cost and the timetable for outcomes. Care in the community was never a cheap option,” he added.

Pete Bradbury (Con, Cuckfield) called for details of how value for money would be measured.

He pointed out that services varied from area to area, according to what people wanted - what people in Horsham wanted might be different from what people in Chichester wanted.

In her blog, leader of the council Louise Goldsmith said working with the police, NHS and neighbouring councils in this way would be ‘new territory for the council’.