Welcome to the first in a series of articles where we put the spotlight on health and social care planning for Buckinghamshire.

Joining Up Health and Social Care

Across the country, health and social care want to work more closely together to provide better, more joined up services. Bringing these services closer together offers an opportunity to redesign them to meet the needs of all of us who use them and to make best use of the available resources in each area.

The good news for our county is that Buckinghamshire was selected last year to be one of the first eight areas in the country to set up an Integrated Care System following planning work by the County Council and the NHS.

This idea of closer working was first set out in a five-year plan for health and social care through to 2020 which called for better integration of GP, community health, mental health and hospital services, as well as more joined-up working with local government.

The new approach is intended to:

  • provide care closer to home to reduce the length of stay in hospital
  • enable GPs and mental health teams to work alongside hospital teams in A&E, and
  • streamline care for people with long-term conditions.

The Partnership Board responsible for making the improvements comprises the Chief Executives of the Clinical Commissioning Groups, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Oxford Health Foundation Trust, South Central Ambulance Service, the countywide GPs federation, and Buckinghamshire County Council.

The leaders of the Integrated Care System (ICS) in Buckinghamshire are committed to engage with the public in designing improvements to the system. As the independent voice for the people of Buckinghamshire, Healthwatch Bucks is already actively supporting patient engagement in the ICS on behalf of local people. To ensure that users’ voices are heard throughout the planning process and when the new ways of working are up and running, we’d like to hear what you have to say about the changes. Get involved now by giving us your views below.

Look out for our next article when we’ll up-date you with how plans are progressing.

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