A key milestone has been reached in the development of a new social care system for St Helens.
St Helens Cares aims to create a sustainable health, well-being and social care system, and is expected to save the council £80 million by 2020.
The scheme, which is being led by St Helens Council, has been delivered in three key phases.
The final phase is focused on the development of a single integrated commissioning provider, working closely with a single principle provider of health and social care services, in order to deliver more integrated care.
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has agreed to be the lead provider for the scheme.
This week Prof O’Brien, the council’s strategic director of peoples services and clinical accountable officer for St Helens CCG, updated the People’s Board on the progress of St Helens Cares.
The council created the joint role to enable the further integration of the council and the CCG in St Helens.
Prof O’Brien said: “Part of the vision of St Helens Cares was to bring health and social care together in terms of commissioning as one, for the people of the borough.
“So, my joint role is that progress that we made.
“We’ve got lots of integration now between the CCG and the people’s services of the council, driving the things we’re doing.
“And what we really wanted as well was to try and bring our providers of services in the borough together to work in a more integrated way.”
As part of the lead provider model, the council has developed a legal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU commits them to working together in a more integrated way with “shared outcomes and vision” for St Helens.
This has already been approved by St Helens CCG’s governing body.
St Helens Council cabinet and the statutory boards of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are all expected to sign the MoU in the coming weeks.
Prof O’Brien said this was “significant progress” that was a reflection on the partnership working going on tin the borough.
Prof O’Brien said: “This is not unique across the country, but I think we are the first area in Merseyside to get to a stage where those types of organisations are signing up to a legal MoU, which is a commitment to working together in a different way.”
It is proposed that there will be a provider board where key agencies will meet to talk about shared goals and outcomes in the borough.
Prof O’Brien said key providers can join the MoU going forward at any stage.
During the meeting members also heard an update on the progress of Contact Cares, which builds on the Integrated Access St Helens Service (ISAH).
Part of St Helens Cares, Contact Cares aims to provide a single point of contact and was developed to assist in addressing cost and demand as part of a system transformation.
The service is currently going through a soft launch.
Staff are from the St Helens Council, Halton Council, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and Torus.
Carole Kilshaw, assistant director for Contact Cares, told members the wider system is already seeing positive outcomes as a result of the integration work going on St Helens.
Ms Kilshaw said St Helens is now the best performing borough in the North West in minimising delayed transfer of care, according to the Association of Director of Adult Services (ADASS).
Coun Marlene Quinn, cabinet member for adult social care, praised the work of the Contact Cares team, saying staff were “incredible”.
Coun Quinn said: “This is our good news story, it’s our good news story for our public, that we are trying to meet all their needs in any way possible.
“And we’re not going to stop. We’ll carry on and carry on.”