Changes on way for patient care

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A new service to support patients leaving hospital will be launched under plans for a single health and social care budget in Sheffield.

Sheffield Council and the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group want to pool more of their funds, with the aim of having just one budget for health and social care by 2019.

The two organisations also expect to receive millions from the Government’s Better Care Fund – cash which needs to be spent in 2015-16.

A report due to be discussed by the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board today says the pooled budget will help more elderly people stay at home and cut avoidable A&E admissions.

It will also reduce ‘delayed transfers of care’ – where patients remain on wards despite being ready for discharge.

Last month, more than 100 patients were stuck in Sheffield hospitals even though they were fit to leave.

The report says: “We intend to develop a single service to support people after a spell in hospital or social care, and to provide alternatives to hospital for people if they have a crisis.

“We would expect the current set of more than 20 services to be simplified.”

Another new service to provide young people and adults with equipment to help them live independently is also planned.

The report says: “This service would be quick and practical, reducing delays in the system and avoiding disputes about which organisation should pay for the support.”

The proposals spell ‘changes for frontline workers’ the report admits – but families and carers ‘will not have to chase professionals or ask them to talk to each other’.

“As a result of establishing a pooled budget – with the ultimate aim of a single budget for health and social care in Sheffield – there will be a single fund and single decision-making on the commissioning of services,” the board will be told.