Our priority is to join up care for people, places and our population.
Integrated neighbourhood teams will help people to access support and care locally. We will continue to strengthen local community networks including community and voluntary sector services, and health and care services. Neighbourhoods will enable our teams to focus on smaller populations and provide greater flexibility to find unique solutions to more local challenges.
Local alliances bring together organisations responsible for arranging and delivering health and care services in a locality or community. They involve the NHS, local government, Healthwatch and providers of health and social care services, including the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. Four alliances; Basildon and Brentwood, mid Essex, south east Essex and Thurrock are building relationships and partnerships locally and will take a role in delivering and coordinating work on health inequalities and prevention.
At a system-level, health and care partners work together to develop shared plans to improve health and care services and improve health and wellbeing outcomes.
The importance of local delivery
Alliances take a lead role in delivering and coordinating work on health inequalities and prevention, using data to deliver evidence-based interventions, with a clear focus on the wider determinants of health. From an NHS perspective, a key deliverable is to make improvements in primary care (including GP services) and ensure local health services better meet the needs of the local population. The golden thread to our approach is to work with local communities and the local alliances have made positive steps to link with residents and the voluntary and community sector locally.
Stewardship is our flagship programme, unique to mid and south Essex. These groups will bring together resource users (NHS frontline and support staff, managers and residents) together within specific care areas (such as cancer or urgent and emergency care) to act as ‘stewards’ delivering the greatest value for residents from pooled knowledge and resources. We are already starting to see great progress resulting from the work of stewardship groups:
Cancer: with active support and encouragement from the cancer stewards, a new approach was launched in November 2022 to change how we track cancer patients through diagnosis and help speed things up so that patients who do not have cancer are told more quickly. This means those with cancer get the treatment and help they need faster. Before the new approach, there were 1,000 patients waiting over 62 days for a diagnosis after being referred by their GP. This has been reduced to 595 and is expected to be under 100 by March 2023. The teams’ next focus will be on the patient journey for prostate cancer.
Ageing Well: Our ageing well stewards are helping to make sure our frail residents and those with complex needs receive better joined up care, earlier. The guidance and efforts of the ageing well stewards has resulted in a new electronic frailty care coordination system register being designed, built and launched in April 2022. It now has more than 8,000 people with frailty and dementia added. The team has also championed a new hotline that connects health and care professionals with specialist advice from a frailty consultant. The helpline takes over 350 calls each month helping keep people safe and well in the community, helping to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by up to 80%.