Delivering coordinated care around the patient is the key driving force of improving health and social care services in Northern Ireland – that was the key theme of the third annual ICP Regional Workshop.
Throughout Northern Ireland, 17 ICPs (Integrated Care Partnerships) are working in local areas to transform care for frail older people and those with long term conditions. ICPs are networks of GPs, pharmacists, health and social care staff, voluntary and community groups, local councils, service users and carers, all of whom are working together to deliver joined up and person centred care.
Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill addressed delegates and spoke with ICP committee members. The Minister said: “I am delighted to attend this workshop and see the excellent and innovative work going on across the sector.
“I strongly believe that Integrated Care Partnerships provide an excellent vehicle through which we can maximise our own existing integrated care system and combat some of the difficulties which we have encountered to date in reaping the full benefits of our system. I wish to continue with the process of restructuring our health service and move to a service that is focused on co-operation, integration of services and patient centred care.
“Often, resource limitations and bureaucracy conspire to stifle a new initiative such as ICPs. However, collectively we can come together to tackle the challenges and deliver practical solutions.
“There are many areas for further development in this area which can be achieved through collaboration across organisations. I also want to foster collaboration and learning opportunities on an all Ireland basis and explore how health and social care providers in the north could assist fledging projects in the south.”
The event was a valuable opportunity for the members of all 17 ICP committees to share the outcomes of a number of ICP service changes. Some of the early impacts ICPs are demonstrating in the areas of frail elderly, stroke, diabetes and respiratory care include:
• 460 frail elderly people have received enhanced or acute care at home services in Belfast and the South Eastern areas, avoiding 4102 days in hospital;
• 1,232 hospital admissions for respiratory problems have been avoided;
• Diabetes-related minor foot amputations in the Northern area have reduced by 90%;
• Length of stay in hospital in the Western area for stroke patients with a visual defect has reduced by 5.6 days;
• 167 people who have fallen at home have avoided being admitted to hospital;
• Nursing home residents in Antrim and Ballymena attending the emergency department has reduced by 1/3, avoiding 1519 days in hospital.
Dr Ian Clements, Chairman of the Health and Social Care Board said:
“The work of Integrated Care Partnerships has delivered significant service change across Northern Ireland in the past three years. The success stories we heard today have emphasised that ICPs are the vehicle to deliver seamless patient centred care with better outcomes. The network approach of ICPs has supported huge progress in how we coordinate care, moving the focus away from buildings and traditional silo working, to the creation of truly joined up working relationships between all of those involved in delivering health and social care services. The vital contribution made by service users, carers, community and voluntary sector representatives and local councils in designing new ICP services is also a wonderful testament to what can be achieved by embracing collaborative working.”
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