A LEADING health minister has said he is confident Worcestershire can lead a new scheme to treat more people in the community.
Norman Lamb MP, minister for care and support, visited the city’s Timberdine Stroke and Rehabilitation Unit last Thursday (December 5) after the county was chosen as just one of 14 areas in Britain to pioneer the Well Connected programme which is designed to join up more health and social care services.
Mr Lamb spent an hour with senior leaders discussing new ideas to help get people out of hospital more quickly and continue to receive excellent care in a more “human” setting.
The Timberdine Unit, in Timberdine Close, is designed to provide around-the-clock care to people following a period of ill health or a stroke and ensures they can recover and rehabilitate outside of hospital.
It was described by Mr Lamb as a shining example of how the Well Connected programme should work.
“This here is a brilliant unit and it’s a demonstration of getting care out of hospital into a much more human setting,” he said.
“It makes an enormous difference and everyone is incredibly enthusiastic.
“We’ve got this massive challenge of an ageing population and the number of people living to the age of 85 and over is going to double between now and 2030.
“We’ve got a system at the moment that is under quite a lot of pressure so how are we going to cope with significant extra numbers of people?
“The whole concept is to ease the pressure on hospitals and to provide better care.”
The Department of Health is investing £3.8billion in joined-up care with other areas being urged to look at the good work being done in Worcestershire before coming up with their own plans and making a bid for a share of the cash.
“Worcestershire is a shining example of what can be achieved when health and social care work together,” Mr Lamb added.
“We want to make joined-up care the norm. Local health and care services must work together, as they’re doing in Worcestershire, so plans are put in place for vulnerable older people leaving hospital, so they have time to get better and don’t end up in A&E.”
Dr Bernie Gregory, Clinical Lead for the county’s Well Connected programme, said: “There is a real commitment and drive in Worcestershire to transform the way care is provided, and we are delighted that the Well Connected programme has been recognised as a shining example of what might be possible.
“It was great to welcome the Care and Support Minister to Worcestershire and was a good opportunity for him to see what’s already being provided locally. Timberdine is the very essence of partnership working and an example of what can be achieved when the boundaries between health and social care are removed for the benefit of patients.”