Suffolk health partnership shortlisted for prestigious national award

Richard Watson
Richard Watson
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A partnership project which is delivering improved health and social care and reduced the number of unnecessary hospital admissions in Suffolk has been shortlisted for a national award.

Connect Suffolk has been shortlisted in the category Improved Partnerships between Health and Local Government in the Health Service Journal Awards 2016.

The collaborative project involves close working across the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, Suffolk County Council, local district and borough councils, Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Community Action Suffolk, Suffolk Congress, Suffolk Community Healthcare and Suffolk Constabulary.

Connect Suffolk was developed following calls from people across east and west Suffolk for health and social care services to work more closely in order to improve care, reduce duplication of services and deliver better value for money. The initiative aims to make sure people can access help and advice early on and that they can better look after their own health in their own home, with the right help and support available locally when they need it.

Richard Watson, chief redesign officer for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups said: “More people are living longer, and often they are living with long-term health conditions such as dementia or mental health issues. Frailty is also a major concern among the elderly. Connect Suffolk has successfully brought together health and social care organisations to more effectively tackle these issues.

“Supporting the Connect locality working, we have established a Crisis Action Team in east Suffolk and an Early Intervention Team in west Suffolk, with both offering 24/7 support to help people remain in their own home, avoiding a hospital admission. An example might be an elderly person living on their own who has had a fall. Previously they could have ended up in hospital even though there was no medical need for them to be there. Now the team can support that person with the care they need at home.

“We’ve also established a Frailty Assessment Base which identifies and supports elderly people who are at risk of a hospital admission. Additionally, we have established Integrated Neighbourhood Teams which bring together health and social care staff to support people to live healthy, happy and independent lives.

“It is really pleasing that Connect Suffolk has been nationally recognised and this highlights the commitment of everyone involved to improve the health and wellbeing of people across east and west Suffolk.”

Cllr Tony Goldson, Cabinet Member for Health and Chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board said: “It’s nice to know Connect Suffolk has been recognised for the work the partnership is doing in trying to reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions. The work we’re all doing together is working very well.”