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Integrated care means residents will only rely on statutory services ‘when absolutely necessary’

15:14 12 October 2016

Orpington Hospital

Orpington Hospital

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Health and social care are to be linked to boost services and save money

Councillors on Tuesday night approved an integrated care service aimed at ensuring residents will only rely on statutory services ‘when it is absolutely necessary’.

Integrated health and social care is seen as a way of improving services and saving money, and is backed by the government as well as a major report into the NHS, the Five Year Forward View.

Under the plans, major health issues such as obesity and smoking will be tackled, with an emphasis on prevention and encouraging the borough’s residents to lead healthier lives.

The council already has integrated services for mental health, and a team will now be established to extend this to other areas of healthcare.

Benefits of the strategy are said to be a reduction in the number of long-term care beds and fewer hospital admissions.

In addition to the council and Oxleas NHS Trust, the plans are likely to involve collaboration with private and voluntary sector providers.

Tom Brown, deputy director for adult social care, said: “We have had integrated mental health services in Bexley for more than a decade and nobody would ever think to undo them.

“They provide much better joined-up care and support.”

“We want more people to be independent – more people to stay in their own homes, to be part of their communities and not rely on statutory services other than when it is really necessary.”

Councillor Brad Smith, cabinet member for adult services, gave his backing to the proposals, claiming it would lead to “savings and better services”.

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