Integrated health and social care teams are expected to in place across Kent by April, as part of an ambitious county-wide plan to better coordinate services for patients with long-term conditions.
Kent county council and Kent Community Health Trust are working on the joint programme, which has been piloted in the southern part of the county since April 2012.
HSJ understands it is set to be rolled out across the whole of Kent this year, with integrated community health and social care teams covering each of the county’s eight clinical commissioning group areas by April.
Find out more about the plans for integration of health and social care in Kent in our latest in-depth local briefing.
There are currently no public documents detailing the plans. HSJ has been told there will be an overarching framework for integration, but CCGs will have flexibility at a local level.
All areas will have some form of integrated team. Some will be collocated in the same building or linked to GP practices, while others may be more mobile and come together to hold regular multidisciplinary meetings or to work together on specific care plans.
The key elements of the new model of care are that multidisciplinary teams should work in an integrated way and there should be a “single point of access” for patients.
Anne Tidmarsh, director of older people and physical disability at Kent county council, said: “We have the coming year for full implementation and then the next year for the refinement of the model.”
The scale of the Kent plan is much larger than previous integration programmes.
Lesley Strong, deputy chief executive and director of adult operations at Kent Community Health Trust, said: “We’re probably the only area that is doing it as a whole economy, across a whole county… It is ambitious.”
Read more about Kent’s ambitious integration plans in our free local briefing.
Information supplied to HSJ