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Local community and voluntary groups key to health service initiative success


Local community and voluntary groups are a key partner in transforming the design and delivery of healthcare services through Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), representatives from the sector heard at a ‘Working Together for Better Health’ event in Coleraine.

ICPs are collaborative networks of care providers, bringing together healthcare professionals (including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and hospital specialists); the voluntary and community sectors; local council representatives; and service users and carers, to design and coordinate local health and social care services. There are four ICPs in the Northern area: Causeway, Antrim/Ballymena, East Antrim and Mid-Ulster.

More than 50 community and voluntary sector representatives from across the Causeway area came together to hear presentations from Dr Brian Patterson, a GP and Clinical Lead for Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) in the Northern area; Northern HSC Trust Chief Executive, Tony Stevens and Head of Community Wellbeing, Hugh Nelson at the recent event held by the Causeway ICP in association with the Causeway Older Active Strategic Team (COAST).

Albert Clyde, Chair and service user representative of the Causeway ICP explained:

“ICPs are now working in local areas to improve care for older people and those with some long term conditions, such as respiratory conditions, stroke and diabetes. All ICPs include representation from the community and voluntary sector and the input from those involved to date has proven the valuable knowledge, skills and capacity that local groups and organisations have to offer to support the delivery of health and social care. This event provided an opportunity to build new, and strengthen existing, partnership working between the HSC and the community and voluntary sector in the Causeway area and we look forward to identifying more opportunities to work together going forward.”

Planning for further events for community and voluntary sector groups in the Antrim/Ballymena, East Antrim and Mid-Ulster areas is currently underway.