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Solihull wins national recognition for improving health and care

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The work of the ‘Solihull Together for better lives’ partnership of local health and social care organisations to improve urgent and emergency care in the borough has been nationally recognised.

Solihull has today been awarded vanguard status by NHS England and its Five Year Forward View partners for its work to create an integrated system that combines preventative services with rapid access to primary, social and specialist care both in and out of hospital, enabling people to take better control of their lives.

Achieving vanguard status means Solihull will receive national attention as well as being able to access specialist support and evaluation to help the partners to achieve their vision of creating an integrated health and care system that extends people’s healthy, active lives for as long as possible.

The application was made through ‘Solihull Together for better lives’, a partnership of organisations that have joined forces to make sure everyone in the borough gets the right care and support when they need it.

Their bid included plans to build an urgent care centre within Solihull Hospital as part of a health and wellbeing campus to support patients and carers, reducing pressure on hospital services. This will provide GP out of hours, urgent walk-in and minor injuries services, some primary care led beds, improvements to community and social care teams as well as a new primary care centre and improved access to diagnostics and specialists.

The partners will build on existing mental health and community services so that patients know where to go for help before a problem escalates.

Those people who are most likely to have complex health issues, particularly frail patients aged 75 and over, will be given more support in the community.

When frail older patients are unwell, they will be comprehensively assessed and wherever possible treated in the community or outpatient care clinics to avoid hospital admission.

They will have rapid specialist acute care when they need it, with comprehensive geriatric assessments in hospital or at home, and greater involvement from GPs in Solihull Hospital.

When they have been discharged from hospital, they will benefit from an integrated programme of support in their own homes.

Patients reaching the end of their lives will be able to die in the place of their choice and be in control of their treatment.

Dr Patrick Brooke, Accountable Officer of Solihull CCG, which plans, designs and funds health services in the borough, said:

“It’s great news that Solihull has won vanguard status. By working together in partnership, we’ve already achieved many improvements in health and social care. We’ll now be able to transform services to benefit patients much more quickly than we could have done otherwise.

“Our aim is to support patients so that they can live independently for as long as possible, take more control of their own care and avoid ending up in hospital unnecessarily.”

Professor Ian Philp, Deputy Medical Director for Older People's Care at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be part of the partnership selected to be awarded vanguard status.  Hospitals across the country are feeling the pressures on their emergency and urgent care departments and by developing new models of care, we aim to address some of the challenges we increasingly face.

“Solihull Together has a shared vision to make sure people who live in the borough get the right care and support. This extends beyond out-of-hospital care to integrate health, social care, mental health and wellbeing for adults and older people.”

Andrew Clements, Managing Director at Solihull Hospital, added: “By pooling together our expertise, people will receive more coordinated care provided by health and social care professionals working together to provide the best service for them.”

Cllr Ken Meeson, Cabinet Member and Chair of Solihull’s Health & Wellbeing Board, said:

“It’s great for Solihull to have national recognition for the joint work between the Council and the NHS. And for our shared commitment to deliver better services for local people through ‘Solihull Together for better lives’, to be seen as a model of best practice.  

“Together we are re-shaping urgent care services at the hospital but just as importantly, we recognise the need to improve support for people in local communities and that’s a responsibility shared by the Council and our other public sector partners.”

John Short, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It’s really exciting that parity of esteem for mental health is taken so seriously in Solihull and that we are able to work with our colleagues in the acute trust, primary care and social services to improve care for older people with mental health difficulties.”