Integrating night care to ‘make a major difference’ council say

Nurse on a home visit to a patient
Nurse on a home visit to a patient

Cabinet members of Sheffield City Council unanimously agreed to combine night care services and reduce the number of visits to patients at night.

The current services are separated by the Night Time Visiting Service, run by the council, and the Roaming Nights Care, operated by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.

Both provide support during the night with pressure care, personal care and toileting, with two care workers travelling together to visit people across the city.

The plans would see both of these close and resources combined for a joint Care at Night service, run by both the council and SCCG.

Council officers said the change will save money and make the service more efficient.

In a cabinet meeting, leaders approved the plans saying they are looking forward to the benefits of the change. 

Councillor Chris Peace, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “We know that people probably do spend way too long getting out of hospital and this is a way that will help speed that up.

“Having one contract instead of two will make a huge amount of difference.

“I know there has been an awful lot of consultation and discussion, not only with people who are currently using the service, but with their families and relatives and also the people delivering on the frontline.

“I think the move towards a service that is driven by the person and their needs, rather than time and task, will be very beneficial for everyone.

“What a shame this Government hasn’t moved forward more quickly and got us a better national system of integrating health and social care. It’s an absolute disgrace. But we are not going to fail the people of Sheffield.”

The change will be implemented from April 2019. It will last for five years and will be closely monitored by the council in the inital months. 

Coun Drayton said: “I think the monitoring in the early days is absolutely crucial, so that we do make sure that what we are delivering is definitely improvements.”

Some of the reasons given for the change include:

– both services experienced lower demand at different times of the night

– the services are ‘not particularly efficient’, with SCCG falling below their contractual requirement

– available activity data ‘strongly suggests’ that the service can be delivered with five, instead of six in total, rounds per night.

In a report, Jayne Ludlam, executive director for people services, said any potential savings from reducing the number of rounds from six to five will be put in reserves in case an extra round is needed while the change is monitored.

Julie Dore, leader of the Labour council, said: “Thank you, Jackie, you have brought the reality into the discussion of what it actually means for people. It will be especially beneficial for carers because everyone does realise that they need that assistance as they work all through the day.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it make a major difference but we will need to make sure it is making those improvements.”

In the report, Ms Ludlam said: “There is no anticipated overall negative impact on the population in the long term. There may be some short term disruption to individuals should their care company not be successful in the tender, however in such circumstances, it is normal for workers to transfer to work for the new provider under TUPE regulations; so for the majority of people, the same person will continue to deliver the care and support regardless of who wins the contract.

“Overall though it is expected the service will have a positive impact on the people who receive the service as well as their carers now and in the future.

“The contract will be monitored very closely during the first few months to be sure that the capacity is adequate and that the new service is meeting contractual expectations including delivering highly flexible and personalised support which changes according to the person’s needs on any particular night.”