A new partnership is being piloted to integrate health and care services in parts of Ribble Valley.
Ribble Valley Borough Council has joined forces with GPs and the health, housing and charity sectors to form the Ribblesdale Community Partnership, which aims to integrate health and care services in Clitheroe, Whalley, Sabden and Slaidburn.
It is chaired by Bridget Hilton, chairman of the council’s health and housing committee, and meets monthly to improve the health of residents and access to health services, particularly by the young and isolated.
Coun. Hilton said: “The Ribblesdale Community Partnership, which is being piloted for two years, will integrate the management of local health and care services in the Ribblesdale locality.
“The partnership is the first step in the integration of health and social care, and we believe it can achieve a great deal to improve the health of Ribble Valley residents.
“We have been surveying residents to find out about their health needs and experiences of the health service, and their views are being analysed and considered.”
Local government is facing the challenge of taking on a greater role in health and social care.
The number of people aged over 85 in the UK has increased by a third in the last decade and is expected to double over the next, and Ribble Valley has an above average number of older residents – three per cent, as opposed to the UK average of 2.2.
At the same time, concerns about mental health and the health of young people are gaining national prominence.
Ribble Valley Borough Council has been providing public health services, such as affordable housing, health schemes and disabled adaptations for many years.
The new partnership has drawn up an action plan outlining several priorities around joined-up working, children and young people, mental health and self-care.