A new short film called Connect…the story so far highlights how public sector teams are working together to help make services simpler.
The film features interviews with some of the people involved with Connect, which was first tested in Sudbury and east Ipswich in 2015 as a partnership between health and social care services, county and district councils, police, the voluntary sector and community organisations from across the county.
Connect is now operating in 13 areas across the county through teams represented by many public sector organisations. These teams now operate seven days a week with staff from the different services, all of whom work with the aim of making sure those people who need it most access help and support early on through the better use of pooled resources. This stops people from getting worse and then having a crisis.
Connect….the story so far features interviews with a GP practice manager from the Grove Medical Centre in Felixstowe. He explains how collaborative working between social workers and GPs is helping meet patients’ mental and physical health needs. Patients can now access weekly social worker appointments at the practice and GPs can now, working with social workers, better address the social care issues of their patients that could be affecting their physical or mental health.
The new community equipment service at Bluebird Lodge is also featured. This service was set up after discussions between Connect members, which identified it as being a more efficient and convenient way for people to access equipment that could help their daily lives e.g. grab rails or walking sticks – equipment that could prevent them having a fall and ending up in hospital.
Connect Suffolk was developed after people called for health and social care services to work more closely together to improve care, reduce duplication of services and ensure the best use of taxpayers’ money. The continued development of Connect is an integral part of the local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership in order to successfully address the challenges facing public sector services.
Dr Simon Arthur, a GP in Newmarket and Connect lead for NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This new three-minute film is a really good way for people to understand more about how Connect Suffolk works, as well as highlighting the positive effect it is having on people’s lives.
“I am proud of the work being done by Connect. So much has been achieved in the last two years since the project began in Sudbury and it pleasing that the ethos and benefits of partnership working are now recognised and practiced county-wide.”
Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “It’s common sense for organisations with a role in supporting and helping people to work together in the best interests of those we serve.
“Achieving that can often be more difficult than it sounds, with several decades of separate working practices to overcome. It’s great to see the efforts being made to make this happen, especially the determination and hard work of our staff to make things better for people.”
David Grimmer, project manager at Suffolk Family Carers, said: “Suffolk Family Carers values the opportunity to be involved in Connect Suffolk and actively engages across the 13 areas in Suffolk. We relish the opportunity for partnership working and the benefits that this will bring family carers across the county.”