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Worcestershire to ‘blaze a trail for change’ in care and support
AN ambitious programme to transform health and social care for patients in Worcestershire has been named as a national pioneer by the Department of Health.
Care minister Norman Lamb has named the county’s groundbreaking Well Connected programme as one of 14 initiatives selected by the Government to “blaze a trail for change” by pioneering new ways of delivering joined-up care.
The joint programme between local NHS trusts, Worcestershire County Council and the voluntary sector, aims to tackle the immediate problem of overcrowding at A&E as well as the longer-term risks of an ageing population.
It includes a wide range of initiatives aimed at creating a more ‘preventative’ culture of care and driving down the need for hospital treatment by delivering more treatment in the community.
While the Government is now ordering health chiefs all over the country to look at delivering similar schemes, work on Well Connected in Worcestershire has been underway for almost 18 months.
The Government received well over 100 applications to become pioneers and Worcestershire’s inclusion comes after a delegation visited London in September to lobby the county’s cause.
While being named a pioneer does not bring any extra funding, it does mean the county will receive up to five years of expert support.
Dr Bernie Gregory, Well Connected clinical lead, said this will help turn the programme’s “visions into a reality”.
“We know that there are very many dedicated and experienced people working in the NHS and in social care with high levels of expertise but the system in place isn’t always conducive to providing care and support which puts the patient and their priorities at the centre,” she said.
“Often the patient has to find their way round complicated and disjointed services, so they do not end up with the services that fit with them.
“There are undoubtedly challenges to be overcome but there is a real drive in Worcestershire to transform the way care is currently provided.
“The people of Worcester-shire are going to be at the forefront of groundbreaking developments to improve the care they receive.”
Peter Pinfield, chairman of watchdog Healthwatch Worcestershire, said residents will be the real winners.
“This is a tremendous opp-ortunity for health and soc-ial care services here in Worcestershire to improve the lives, for not only patients and carers, but also for ordinary folk who depend upon those very services for a safe and good quality of life every day,” he said.
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