Plans to improve health and social care for the 750,000 residents of east Berkshire, north-east Hampshire and Farnham and Surrey Heath were strengthened today.
This follows the announcement that the Frimley Health and Care sustainability and transformation area will be one of the first in England to see commissioners and providers taking joint responsibility for all local care services.
Under the new ‘accountable care system’, councils and the NHS will be granted more control and freedom and be given a single financial bottom line – effectively abolishing annual contractual purchaser/provider negotiations in their areas.
They will work more closely together to strengthen services for people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. All partners are committed to ensuring residents have accessible, closer-to-home services delivered in a straightforward way.
Dr Adrian Hayter, one of the chairs of the three east Berkshire clinical commissioning groups, said: “We can now move forward with our plans for care to be much more joined up. This will bring real benefits to patients.
“Health and social care professionals will be talking more to each other and supporting patients more effectively in their own homes, working in more proactive ways. Good quality hospital care will be available when needed, but support for patients to return to their own homes as quickly as possible will also be available.
“Technology and different ways of working between organisations will make much of this happen, including plans to support improvements in A&E with a new building at Wexham Park. Care for patients with mental health problems and cancer will also improve following extra investment.
“We plan to build on our great work locally, which gives patients seven-day access to GP and nurse appointments. We are also leading significant changes in GP practices by supporting them in working more closely together and strengthening their teams by recruiting other professionals, such as clinical pharmacists.
“Practices such as mine are also working more closely with social care, linking up to support people and their carers in their own homes and helping them to stay connected to their communities.”