£1.6 million for older people’s care in Newcastle and Gateshead

A pioneering NHS programme aimed at improving care for older residents in Newcastle and Gateshead is set to benefit from £1.6 million of funding.

The funding will enable the Newcastle Gateshead Care Home Programme to build on its work, which has brought specialists in elderly care out of hospitals to care for people in their own homes, residential and nursing homes.

The programme, which is led by NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG in partnership with local councils, care homes and voluntary organisations, works to improve healthcare services and prevent ill health among older people.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been awarded the funding for 2017 – 2018 from NHS England – a share of £101 million to fund the continued delivery and spread of other new care model programmes nationwide.

The CCG was awarded ‘Vanguard’ status in 2015, after being recognised nationally for reducing hospital admissions by 14% among Gateshead care home residents, placing a national spotlight on the area as an example of good practice.

The programme has also gained national acclaim for its work in linking local GP practices with care homes, giving care home residents dedicated and regular access to a GP and providing closer links to hospital specialists including geriatricians and old age psychiatrists. The arrangement has resulted in better care planning and avoidance in unnecessary hospital admissions if a resident becomes unwell.

Dr Dan Cowie, clinical lead for NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, said: “The award of this funding is a testament to the successful work that the programme has already achieved, and will help us to share our learning more widely.

“The work of the Care Home Programme has given health and care professionals across Newcastle and Gateshead invaluable insight and knowledge into the key issues facing older people’s care. This includes detailed exploration into meeting the needs of older people, focusing on safety, quality and experience in care homes; not only focusing on those receiving the care but equally those providing the care.”

Progress has been made across the UK since the vanguards were launched, with emerging evidence that significant improvements are being made including reducing pressure on busy GP services suggesting wider learning for reform outside of older people’s care. 

Dr Cowie added: “Not only will the older population of Newcastle and Gateshead benefit from the funding – in the near future we will be able to apply our learning to the recently announced transformation plans for all health and care services on a much bigger scale.”

In addition to the funding, NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG will continue to receive support from NHS England and other national bodies to implement their plans, including how they harness new technology including the use of mobile apps and shared computer systems.

Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme said: “The vanguards are making great progress and have already made a tangible impact on the lives of patients and the working lives of staff.  2017/18 is a crucial year for the vanguards, in particular how we further spread their work across the wider NHS and care services.  This funding, as well as the support we offer to them, will help them to continue to move at pace.” 

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