Frances Hasler – Healthwatch Camden Director message

In December 2016, Camden Council’s Cabinet Members approved the development of a new strategy for working with older and disabled people.

The title of the strategy is “Supporting people, connecting communities: living and aging better in Camden”.

Closely aligned to the Local Care Strategy and Health and Wellbeing Board strategy, it set put how the council will promote a community approach that creates a sustainable model for the future. 

In the strategy Camden says that key partners in transforming care are the residents of the borough. Health and social care should be designed around the individual, understanding what is important to them and how they want to access services. 

Services should empower the individual to take control of their care and make informed decisions through information and communication.

They say that they will “therefore continue to work with them to identify innovative, effective and efficient ways of designing and delivering joined up services across health, social care and housing”. 

One of the issues that Healthwatch Camden regularly raised at the Health and Wellbeing Board is the lack of joined up services.

We have said that having good joining up at the top of an organisation (senior managers sitting around together and agreeing priorities) does not necessarily translate into good joining up at ground level, where people are receiving services at home. We’re really pleased that the new strategy recognises this.

In a paper to the most recent Health and Wellbeing Board, they say that in developing their Supporting People at Home programme they recognised “that there existed a range of services that were being commissioned separately, each with the intended objective of supporting people to continue to live in their own home environment, either through maintaining a person’s wellbeing or preventing increased  deterioration in their health and  welfare. However, the lack of co-ordination between these services has often resulted in duplication of resources being committed to supporting an individual, or gaps in meeting support needs because they had not been specified for a particular provider to address.”

This chimes with feedback we have received, so it is good to see some acknowledgement that despite a range of services being (in theory) available, some people have still been poorly served.

The plans to improve things in future include aligning the work of district nursing and home care into ‘neighbourhood’ teams, so they can work more closely together. 

The services within these local support network will be gradually extended over the next two years so that by 2020, a comprehensive choice of services is available to people to enable them to continue to live at home.

There will also be changes in the ways that people are assessed for support, what is called a ‘strengths- based approach’. The aim will be to provide a wider response option from low level monitoring to prevent condition deterioration, to high level rapid intervention to prevent hospital admissions for those with more complex health conditions.

Healthwatch Camden will be checking the effect of these changes, to see how well they are working in practice. If you or someone you know uses care at home services, we would be really interested in your experience.

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