Pioneering plans to bring hospital, community healthcare, social services, the Council and the voluntary sector together for the first time begin today.

More than 250,000 people in Tameside and Glossop will benefit from the country’s most radical and ambitious redesign of healthcare services ever planned – becoming the first of the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester to open a Local Care Organisation.

Care Together – the culmination of over two year’s collaboration – will see hospital, communities, voluntary organisations and social care working as one service.

Local leaders say it will mean fewer trips to hospital for patients, with more care being provided closer to their homes. It will prevent patients having to stay in hospital for longer than they need to be and focus on preventing illness and promote improved health and well-being.

The public, patients, GPs, care workers, the voluntary sector and others are being invited to help shape how services come together over the coming months.

Under Care Together, a single body will commission health and social care. It will be drawn from Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group and from Tameside Council. Some changes have already taken place, with hundreds of community healthcare staff having already moved to join Tameside Hospital, as the first tangible step towards integrated services.

It is well documented that the residents of Tameside and Glossop are unhealthier for longer, and live shorter lives than people in many other areas of the country. The Care Together vision is to significantly raise healthy life expectancy by focusing on the health and care needs of local communities, with a view to achieving better prosperity, health and wellbeing, and to deliver a clinically and financial sustainable health and social care service within five years.

It is underpinned by three key ambitions, namely:

  • Supporting local people to remain well by tackling the causes of ill health, encouraging behaviour and lifestyle change, and maximising the role played by local communities.
  • Ensuring that those receiving support are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to enable them to take greater control over their own care needs and the services they receive
  • When illness or crisis occurs, providing high quality integrated services that are designed around the needs of the individual and are provided as close to home as possible.

Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board says Care Together is the local interpretation of devolution.

He explains: “We are on the brink of a new era in Greater Manchester and are leading the way by becoming the first region in the country to have devolved control over  integrated health and social care budgets. It means that – for the first time – local leaders and clinicians will be able to design services to directly meet the needs of local communities. I am delighted with the progress being made in Tameside and Glossop and look forward to witnessing the next exciting steps for this bold initiative.”

Karen James, Chief Executive at Tameside Hospital believes that by improving how different services work together it will be possible to increase the quality of clinical care, empower patients and improve their experiences.

She adds: “We also believe that it will reduce the amount of duplication that goes on in the health and care service. We see this as a radically new way of health and care professionals working together for the patient and a single care professional coordinating their care. The current system often doesn’t make life easy for many patients, some stay in hospital when they could be at home.”

Steven Pleasant MBE, Chief Executive at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. He says: “ Today’s event is all about engaging with the good residents of Tameside and Glossop, to share with them the ambitions of the programme, unveil the Care Together website which will inform people and allow them to have their say on proposed changes.”

Dr Alan Dow is Chair of Tameside and Glossop CCG and a local GP of 25 years. He says: “Integration will put an end to the frustration for patients and families of having to tell their story repeatedly to different professionals and being passed from one part of the health and care system to another, often with delays along the way. Only those who really need to go to hospital will do so and the care they receive will be of the highest quality.”

Liz Windsor-Welsh is Chief Executive of Action Together, an organisation representing more than 1,000 local charities and community groups. She says; “ “These are exciting times for the people of Tameside and Glossop who get to shape the future of healthcare services for themselves and future generations of their families. I do believe that we in the voluntary sector will play a key role in making that happen.”