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Minister visits integrated care services in Berwick

Thursday, 18 December, 2014
Minister visits integrated care services in Berwick

A Government minister visited Berwick last week to see first-hand the work being done by health and care services in the area to join up care around the needs of local patients.

Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Care and Support, went to Berwick Infirmary to learn how hospital, community and social care teams are already working together to provide joined-up care for patients.

Mr Lamb met staff from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who deliver these services and ensure seamless health and social care for people in Northumberland.

Northumbria Healthcare is one of the only NHS foundation trusts to provide adult social care, as well as hospital and community care. For more than ten years, the organisation has been working in close partnership with Northumberland County Council to develop integrated ways of working. 

At the visit, Mr Lamb also learnt about Northumbria Healthcare’s plans for a £25million new hospital for Berwick which, in further evidence of the strong relationship between the organisations, is being funded via a loan to the trust from the county council.

Daljit Lally, executive director wellbeing and community health Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Lamb to Berwick Infirmary and show him the fantastic integrated work taking place in the town, which is replicated across the county.

“The trust and the council have developed an extremely strong relationship over the years and truly work in partnership to provide the best care and support for people across Northumberland, whether they are in hospital, in the community or at home.

“It was also with great pleasure that we updated the minister on our plans for a new hospital in Berwick which gives us greater opportunities to integrate care yet further to bring more benefits to patients.”

During the visit, Mr Lamb met staff on Ward 1 and found out how health and social care teams work closely together not only to care for patients while they are in hospital, however, also to plan their safe discharge and get them home with the right help and support in place. He also witnessed the close working arrangements with local GPs who provide medical cover on the ward.

In addition, Mr Lamb was shown services provided in Berwick Infirmary which prevent patients from the local area having to travel to a general hospital for treatment such as the chemotherapy service, drug and blood transfusions and consultant-led outpatient clinics.

Mr Lamb said: “Across the country, our health and care workers do a fantastic job providing care and support to those in need.  But all too often local services are fragmented, getting in the way of providing good care and letting patients fall through gaps in the system.

“In government the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning to join up local health and care services, so organisations work better together to meet the needs of individual patients.  I know that delivering good local health services is a priority for Julie Porksen here in Berwick, and it was good to see how this sort of approach is being put into action by local services.”