Agenda item

Integration of Health and Social Care - Verbal Update

The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration will provide the panel with a verbal update regarding the integration of health and social care.


The Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration advised Members that, to enable staff to focus on winter pressure issues being experienced at hospitals over the Christmas period, integration work had recently been paused.


Details were provided in relation to two financial packages that had been provided to the NHS prior to Christmas, which would help facilitate hospital discharge arrangements in Middlesbrough. 


The first fund provided the NHS with £500m, of which Middlesbrough would receive circa. £600,000.  This would provide additional capacity around hospital discharge over the period, of which previous concerns had been raised.  Following agreement with the ICS, a scheme had been implemented and continued to operate currently.  Related performance was reported to the Department of Public Health on a fortnightly basis.  In terms of the second fund, Middlesbrough would receive a share of £200m allocated nationally, which would assist with the purchase of additional bed spaces within care homes and other provider space.  It was indicated that both funds were to be fully utilised by the end of March 2023, which was felt to be particularly unrealistic in terms of resolving any deeper issues.


The Director highly commended the work that the teams had carried out over the Christmas period.  A seven-day presence was provided, with discharge being driven on those days.  Flow from hospital to domiciliary care had been maintained and managers very happy with performance.  It was indicated that an end to activity was being approached, though there was awareness of industrial action taking place within the NHS.


In terms of continuing with integration work, the Director would be meeting with ICS colleagues on 9 February 2023 to discuss progress and next steps.  It was felt that the operational stage would commence shortly.


During discussion, Members discussed the £600,000 of funding awarded to Middlesbrough and the potential to spend this effectively within the required four-month period.  It was felt that if this could have been extended to cover the longer term, it may have provided longer term sustainability. 


Consideration was given to discharge arrangements from hospital to both care home and own home environments, and how the additional funding from both funds was able to assist with this.  The Director explained that the second block of funding was effectively concerned with locating beds for individuals, whereas the first block was a little more open.  For example, a small number of beds were reserved specifically for end-of-life care.  A specific amount of money was also reserved for reablement to enable individuals to return to their own homes and receive support.  Details around expenditure and regular monitoring of it were required by the Government.


A Member queried the development of a hospital in Stockton-on-Tees and whether this laid within the ICS arrangements.  In response, the Director explained that a diagnostic centre was being planned, but no further details were available at present.  It was felt that the relationship between North and South Tees would become closer, with a local dimension being developed through partnership.  It was anticipated that the hospital would cover both Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough.


The Chair thanked the Director for the information provided.