AN £89m plan to join up health and social care services across Lancashire has been given the go-ahead.
Lancashire's Better Care Fund plan includes improvements that will reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, provide better care for people in their own home when they are discharged from hospital, improve end of life care and cut down the amount of paperwork people need to fill in when accessing health and social services.
The plan was approved by NHS England. Dame Barbara Hakin, national director for commissioning, described it as 'strong' and 'robust'. It was submitted by the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board.
County Councillor Azhar Ali, chair of Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "This plan is crucial for Lancashire, as it will help us to identify people with complex health needs who are at risk of losing their independence, and join up services to support them. It will make a huge difference to them, their carers and families.
"I'm pleased that our Better Care Fund Plan has now been approved. The county council and NHS organisations have been working together over the past year to ensure we will provide improvements for those who need them most.
"The plan has been given the highest level of approval by NHS England, who have every confidence we will deliver the improvements that have been set out."
Lancashire's Better Care Fund plan was successful after being resubmitted with more details about what was being planned at a very local level.
Now that the plan has been approved, Lancashire County Council, NHS organisations such as hospitals and clinical commissioning groups, and voluntary and community organisations will work together straight away to bring in the improvements set out in the plan.
Councillor Ali added: "Our aim is to better coordinate people's care based on their needs.
"This will avoid crisis situations, improve the quality of services and offer better value for money by making them more efficient and reducing administrative costs.
"The new way of working will also see services delivered closer to people's homes and ease the pressure on our hospitals. I'd like to thank the county council and NHS organisations involved in producing the plan."
Notes to editors
• The government introduced the Better Care Fund as part of the spending review in 2013.
• Better Care Fund plans first had to be agreed at a local level before being passed on to NHS England for approval.
• Lancashire's Better Care Fund Plan was drawn up jointly by Lancashire County Council and the NHS clinical commissioning groups. It was then approved by Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, before being passed on to NHS England.
• Clinical Commissioning Groups covered by this plan are: East Lancashire, Lancashire North, Fylde and Wyre, Greater Preston, Chorley and South Ribble and West Lancashire.
• When submitted on 19 September 2014 it was not approved, because assessors felt it needed more detail about activities planned at a local level.
• The plan was resubmitted in January and was formally approved on Friday 6 February.