Health Partnerships Officer – almost one year on

I came into post as Health Partnerships Officer back in May 2018. By the end of the first six or seven months I was beginning to wonder just what I had achieved apart from a very bruised forehead and stubbed toes from hitting endless brick walls! I was truly delighted when in November things started to change quite dramatically. Since then the third sector has begun to find its self a welcome partner within the world of health and has been given some real opportunities to work with and alongside health at a strategic and very local level.

Now is a really exciting time for North Cumbria and its developing Integrated Health and Care System. Health, local GPs, Adult Social Care, Public Health and other elements of the County Council and their staff are starting to work closely together and have recently been joined by the third sector. We are one of thirteen exemplar areas across England driving forward new ways of working through our Integrated Care Communities (ICCs).

Third Sector ICC Representatives
There are eight ICCs across North Cumbria (follow this link for more information)
Our sector now has two third sector representatives who sit at second tier management (Delivery Groups) within each of the ICCs. The Representatives have a real opportunity to encourage the ICC to engage and partner more effectively with third sector organisations and to help to develop the direction in which the individual ICCs begin to progress in response to the health and care needs of their local communities. It’s worth linking into one of our Action for Health Events to find out more about ICCs and to link up with your ICC Representatives.

Third Sector Referral Pathways
At the moment much of the ICC work is based around its Hub (often described as the air traffic control). Its where referrals to community based clinical services come into and where district nurses, OTs and physiotherapist work from. I am delighted that at the beginning of April we are piloting a new Referral Pathway in two ICC Hubs. The Pathway enables ICC Hubs to refer directly out to third sector organisations. If the pilot proves successful the Pathway will be rolled across the remaining 6 Hubs.

Third Sector Referral Co-ordinators
In addition to the new Referral Pathway our sector has also secured funding from NHS England and Cumbria Partnership Foundation NHS Trust to recruit and pilot a new Third Sector Referral Co-ordinator role in three ICCs. The new roles will work within ICC Hubs supporting staff to make appropriate third sector referrals, attend multi-disciplinary team meetings and keep ICC teams up to date with information about services and support offered by the third sector in the local community.

Although the bulk of my work over the last 11 months has been largely focused on Cumbria Action for Health and Integrated Care Communities there have also been some other interesting developments in other parts of the health system such as the LeDeR Programme.

LeDeR Programme

To date at least four representatives from the third sector have been recruited as LeDeR Reviewers.

Having Reviewers from our sector has been a very positive experience for the health team running the programme. They have provided a strong and very direct link to service users and bring their voice to the review process, have brought a very different perspective to discussions, supported the team to work in a positive and co-produced way, Supported honest dialogues, provided appropriate challenge and new ways of thinking and a fresh approach.

As a result of and building on the success of third sector engagement in the LeDeR process the team are now talking to NHS England and the North East and Cumbria Learning Disability steering group with a view to securing funding to train two people with a learning disability to become LeDeR reviewers.

If you have found this information interesting and want to know more about how our sector and the North Cumbria Health and Care System are working together why not subscribe to Cumbria Action for Health   and come along to our regular meetings.

Clare Edwards
Health Partnerships Officer