Below is an overview of some of the things that have been happening over recent months.
ICPs are working together with Diabetes UK and local Education and Library Boards to highlight the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
The 4Ts stand for Toilet, Thirsty, Tired and Thinner:
ICPs are raising awareness by distributing 4Ts campaign posters and briefing materials to all primary schools throughout Northern Ireland. The campaign will also raise awareness among healthcare professionals and the wider community.
ICP Committee membership is laid out in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety ICP Policy Implementation Framework, and to date has included: GPs, pharmacists, service users and carers, voluntary and community sector organisations, as well as doctors, nurses, social workers and allied health professional representatives from Health and Social Care Trusts. That policy framework has recently been updated to allow for local councils to be members of each of the 17 ICPs.
Councils play a significant role in supporting the health and wellbeing of their residents and this is set to become even greater with the transfer of community planning responsibilities to councils which come into effect on 1 April 2015 as part of the local government reform programme.
The Health and Social Care Board is now inviting councils to identify an appropriate officer with a remit for community planning or health and wellbeing from each of the eleven newly established councils to ensure that there is representation on each of the seventeen ICPs. These representatives will play an important role in ensuring that the work of local councils is embedded in all of the ICPs plans to deliver more joined up care for service users and carers.
Dr Sanjeev Arora founder of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) delivered a very well received presentation at the eHealth conference held in the La Mon Hotel in October. Project ECHO is a pioneering telemedicine and distance learning programme developed in the School of Medicine at the University of New Mexico. Work is underway to implement the approach in Northern Ireland with plans in place to start with an ECHO clinic for the management of diabetes facilitated by ICPs. The ECHO approach is already being piloted by the Northern Ireland Hospice to support community based palliative care teams.
As well as presenting at the eHealth conference Dr Arora also met with senior leaders across health and social care.
In order to strengthen effective relationships amongst clinicians and to help all parts of the system to work more closely together, 48 GPs, pharmacists and medical consultants, who are members of the ICP committees, have now also completed a year-long clinical leadership development programme.
The purpose of the programme was to support ICPs to deliver more integrated working and improved patient experience by assisting those taking part to develop and expand their leadership qualities, including service improvement, improved communication, negotiating and decision making skills.
The programme was delivered by the Health and Social Care Leadership Centre, in collaboration with Karen Picking Associates, and comprised a seven day programme between November 2013 and September 2014.
The final session of the programme was held recently with Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer and Valerie Watts, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board among the attendees. As part of the session, participants shared experiences about their ICP work to date and their plans for local service changes.
Examples of some of the proposals and plans in development for improving patient care, which were prepared by participants of the programme and presented at the final session, are available to view on the HSC Knowledge Exchange website at: www.knowledge.hscni.net/Events/Detail/439
There are currently a number of ICP vacancies for service user and carer representatives with experience of services for frail older people or experience of diabetes, stroke or respiratory conditions.
The chairpersons of the 17 Integrated Care Partnerships meet on a quarterly basis to discuss progress, share learning and to work together to address both the challenges and the opportunities of working in collaborative partnerships.
The most recent meeting of the forum was held on 3 December in Lisburn and was attended senior members of the Health and Social Care Board Dr Ian Clements, Chairman; Valerie Watts, Chief Executive; Dr Sloan Harper, Director of Integrated Care and Dean Sullivan, Director of Commissioning. A very welcome discussion was had about the value of ICPs and also the need for strong relationships with Local Commissioning Groups to ensure that good progress can be made and real change delivered for the benefit of service users and carers.
The next meeting of the forum is planned for February 2015.
Dr Alan Stout, Chair and GP Lead of the East Belfast Integrated Care Partnership recently supported Self Care Week. The aim of the campaign is to support people to take care of minor ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats and flu, especially during the winter months when seasonal illnesses increase.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Dr Stout said:
“Preventing ill health is important during winter, so choose lifestyle options that will impact positively on your physical health, mental health and self-esteem. Self Care Week is about helping people to take care of themselves and to let them know what’s available to help them look after their health. Look out for posters, leaflets and other information in the waiting areas of your local GP Practice.”