Integrated Care Communities will place health and wellbeing at the heart of our communities

Work to improve the overall wellbeing of local people is underway through the development of eight Integrated Care Communities across West North & East Cumbria.

The Integrated Care Communities will work together to improve the overall health and wellbeing of local people by joining up local health and care services, bringing more care out of hospital and into the communities and people’s homes, and supporting people to manage their own health conditions.

The ICCs are being developed in response to the changing needs of the population which the current system is struggling to cope with.  The ambition will see health and social care professionals, GPs, the voluntary sector and the community working together in each Integrated Care Community as one team to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.  They are focusing on helping people to manage long term health conditions, improve access to information about healthier lifestyles and providing more care in the community and at home.

Stephen Eames, Lead for West, North and East Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, explains:

“We know that the current system isn’t working and things need to change to put Cumbrian people at the heart of our health and care services.   Joining up health and care services is one of the ways we are planning to do this.

“Current services tend to focus on ill health rather that supporting people to stay well but ICCs will change that. A key element of their success will be working with local communities and supporting them to take a more active role in their health and wellbeing. 

New ways of working have already included community teams joining up with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to help keep people out of hospital and musculoskeletal practitioners working in GP practices to ensure people with problems such as back pain can be seen quickly, by the right person. Work is underway to identify frail and elderly patients and put steps in place to prevent falls before they happen.

Dr Niall McGreevy, Workington ICC GP lead, added:

 “This is a really exciting time for Cumbria. The changes we’ve seen focus on improving patient care and working closely with communities to provide services that work for them. By empowering communities to play a more active role in their own wellbeing we can ease pressure on health and care services and stop problems before they develop.” 

Information is now available online for each ICC which explains the areas covered, the health challenges that area faces and the progress that has been made. Each ICC is based around a group of GP practices and their patients. By understanding the challenges that each area faces the community can work together with health and care organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.