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National NHS leader sees health and care joint working at its best

24 Feb 20

A senior NHS leader visited our area on Monday 17 February, to see at first hand the dedicated partnership working which is helping to create a healthier future for our residents.

Lord David Prior is the Chair of NHS England. During a busy day he visited a range of locations and met staff from the health, social care and charity sectors who work together closely to help people receive the best possible care.

Lord Prior started the day at the ‘Healthy Hub’ in Stevenage – a pilot project delivered by Stevenage Borough Council, Stevenage Leisure Limited and Hertfordshire County Council Public Health. Healthy Hubs provide health and wellbeing services for their local communities, such as supporting those with mental health problems, encouraging people to stop smoking and helping them to get active. The Stevenage Healthy Hub has been so successful that Hertfordshire County Council Public Health has now invested £1m to set up a Healthy Hub in every Hertfordshire district.

Lord Prior (left) learning about the work of the Emergency Department at the Lister Hospital, which includes HPFT's Mental Health Liaison Team.

The next stop on the tour was the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, where Lord Prior was shown around the Emergency Department. Here he met ambulance service employees who help to ensure that patients are transferred promptly from emergency ambulances into the care of the Emergency Department. Lord Prior also heard from joint teams of health and social care experts who work to put in place the individual care and support packages that each person needs when they are discharged from hospital, so that they can get home safely to complete their physical or mental recovery.

After a lunch meeting in the hospital canteen with staff, the final part of Lord Prior’s visit was to Sloe Hill Residential Care Home in St Ippolyts. Here he heard from specialist frailty nurses from a local hospice, pharmacists, falls prevention specialists and care home representatives , who all use their expertise to make sure that no-one has to be admitted to hospital who would be better looked after at their care home.

Summing up the day, Lord Prior commented: “It is quite clear that the old model for delivering healthcare is no longer working. In Hertfordshire and West Essex, a new integrated model involving partners from the NHS, Councils, the voluntary sector and the independent sector is showing the way forward. The emphasis on addressing health inequalities and prevention is absolutely fundamental to the future. I was very inspired by the Healthy Hub with its focus on keeping people well; I saw a fantastic integrated discharge team embedded in the Lister Hospital making sure that patients spend no more time than absolutely necessary in hospital; and then I saw a wonderful independent care home who was working with a local hospice to support end of life care.”

Iain MacBeath, the joint leader of the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) added: "It was a pleasure to show Lord Prior just a fraction of the work that goes on, often behind-the-scenes, to improve the way we support the population we serve. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard today and every day to care for our 1.5m population.”    

Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, Tim Hutchings said: "The Healthy Hubs are part of our District Partnership programme, through which we have already invested £2.3million into health and wellbeing services across the county over the last five years.

“This new initiative will see a further £1million invested over the next two years to enable each district to establish a Healthy Hub in their area, making it easier for people to pop in and get the friendly, professional one-to-one support they need to improve their health and wellbeing.”

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