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£1.1 million cash boost to improve the health of care home residents

The money has been given to Airedale & Partners, as one of the selected ‘enhanced health in care home vanguards’ for the new care models programme, which is playing a key part in the delivery of the Five Year Forward View – the vision for the future of the NHS.

Vanguards are leading on developing care models that will act as blueprints for the future of the health and care system in England.

The money is part of a national £200 million NHS transformation fund.  Vanguards are also receiving practical assistance as part of a package of national support announced in the summer to enable them to make the changes they need at pace.

Airedale & Partners aims to improve the health of residents in care homes and brings together more than a dozen organisations from health and social care services, care home providers, technology specialists, voluntary sector and universities to redesign care across Airedale, Bradford, Craven, Wharfedale and East Lancashire.

The scheme will extend the telemedicine service to 248 care homes providing immediate access round-the-clock to expert opinion and diagnosis, where appropriate. If care home staff have concerns about their residents they can get remote care and advice from an experienced nursing team based in a Hub, at Airedale Hospital, who will use a secure video link to assess them.  The scheme will support individual independence and improve the quality of life of residents by focusing on proactive rather than responsive care and delivering more specialist services into care homes.

For residents, this will improve their experience of health and care services and could mean, for example, fewer trips to hospital; access to services closer to home and a tailored personal service that is more responsive and reduces duplication.

Helen Bourner, programme director for Airedale & Partners Enhanced Health in Care Homes Vanguard, said: “We are delighted that we have been allocated funding and practical support from NHS England that will help us to improve the health and quality of life of residents in care homes. We are also committed to sharing our work and best practice so that other communities can benefit from our learning.”

Dr Phil Huxley, local GP and chair of East Lancashire CCG, said: “As a clinical commissioning group our vision is to put patients at the heart of everything we do, work in partnership with like-minded organisations and strive to be innovative and work at the cutting edge to ensure that our patients receive the very best care, treatment and access to services.

Our involvement in the Vanguard helps us towards achieving our vision for patients, particularly those who are the most vulnerable. I am delighted the Vanguard has received additional funding to further develop and enhance the work we are doing.”

Sheila Jackson, GP in East Lancashire said: “We have seen real benefits for the residents of our local care homes through the early introduction of telemedicine. Having the vanguard funding means that we will be able to provide this service to all of our care homes, so residents and the staff who care for them will be less reliant on using accident and emergency when a resident becomes unwell.”