More ‘joined up’ health and social care services for Ribble Valley

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Residents in the Ribble Valley and throughout Lancashire will see more joined up health and social care services following an agreement that was signed recently.

The agreement, between Lancashire County Council and local NHS clinical commissioning groups, marks the first step in Lancashire’s Better Care Fund plan to improve services.

This means that, for the first time, the county council and NHS organisations will now have access to a specific joint £89m budget to deliver a range of integrated projects.

Lancashire’s Better Care Fund plans are being led by Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, which represents the organisations involved in health and social care across the county.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, chair of Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This agreement paves the way for important improvements to health and social care across Lancashire.

“The Better Care Fund will join up health and social care services more closely. People who need them will be able to access them much more easily in their own community and have more choice about the support they receive.

“To make these improvements, we need to ensure health and social care staff have flexibility to work on projects together and that these organisations have easy access to the budget to fund the partnership activities.

“Signing the agreement is the first step towards this. We can now get started on activities which will lead to improvements that will make a big difference to people’s lives, particularly those with long term conditions or complex care needs.”

Some improvements from Lancashire’s better care fund will include reducing unnecessary hospital admissions, providing better care for people in their own home when they are discharged from hospital, improving end of life care, and also cutting down the amount of paperwork people need to fill in when accessing health and social services.

Azhar added: “By making sure people get support much earlier, we will reduce unnecessary hospital and care home admissions and ensure people can live independently in their own home for longer.

“The Better Care Fund plans will also help us narrow the gap in health between richer and poorer communities.”