Let’s have a healthy conversation about care closer to home
Joined up care closer to home will support you to stay well, look after you at home or in the community, and help keep you at home and out of hospital wherever possible. It will also ensure that if you go to hospital you are able to return home sooner, by providing community support as required.
This means that the services in your local community will work together and with you to receive the support and care you need in familiar surroundings close to family and friends. The services working together include GPs, community services, community mental health services, adult social care, care homes, home care services and the third sector and voluntary organisations; but you are the most important partner in this.
As an NHS programme of work, you might hear this referred to as Home First or Integrated Community Care (ICC). This is a high priority for us and in Lincolnshire. We are already committing lots of resource to improving this joined up care closer to home, working with patients and health and care partners across the county to agree common goals and how to achieve them.
We know people do better mentally and physically if they can be cared for in or close to home by health and care staff based in the community and the evidence supports this. Evidence suggests that older people can lose their independence and can find it harder to return back home when admitted to hospital. They may also develop further health issues as a result of changing their regular routine.
Our Neighbourhood Teams
We already have 12 Neighbourhood Teams across Lincolnshire. These Neighbourhood Teams include GPs, community and mental health services, social care and the third and independent sector to provide joined-up care that is responsive and expert. The premise is simple; professionals working closely together to put the person at the centre of their care, removing the boundaries that buildings or professional disciplines can sometimes create.
Our GP Services
Continued improvements in Lincolnshire’s NHS will only be delivered if they are underpinned by sustainable GP services. We currently have 85 GP practices in the county with GPs and their staff working hard every day to provide the best care they can to patients. We intend to invest more in GP services as well as to boost their links with other local services. However, our GP services also face significant workforce and capacity challenges and so it is important that we embrace new models of care to ensure we can all access that care when we need to.
Increasingly, GP practices will be collaborating locally in partnership with community services, care services and other providers of health and care services. This increases the breadth of expertise available to patients, and decreases the pressure on GPs within the team. Neighbourhood Teams are part of these primary care networks.
We have started Social prescribing
‘Social prescribing’ is an initiative that will see more of us being helped to seek support and care from community groups. In our county, our neighbourhood teams are building links so that you might find yourself joining a group, or exercising to help with your health, instead of relying solely on medication or other clinical interventions.
How might all of this help?
Patients should experience:
- Joined up services, where everyone understands their previous and ongoing contact with services
- Access to a wide range of professionals and diagnostics in the community, so they can get access to the people and the services they need in a single appointment
- Different ways of getting advice and treatment including digital, telephone based and face to face services, matched to their individual needs
- Shorter waiting times, with appointments at a time that works around their life
- Greater involvement when they want it in decisions about their care
- An increased focus on preventing ill health, enabling people to take great control of their own health
These are our emerging thoughts on joined up care closer to home. Now we need your input to help get these services right. Your feedback will make a difference in how future services are designed to improve patient care in Lincolnshire.