The drive to prevent ill health and support our local communities through better joined-up health and social care services has been given a major cash boost.
Almost £5 million is being given to 46 individual projects run by voluntary, community and public sector organisations across east and west Suffolk.
The funding has been provided from the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups’ Transformation Fund – a pool of money earmarked for projects that support partnership working, where providers and commissioners of health, mental health and social care services commit to working more closely together.
This approach is aimed at providing better co-ordinated services that enable people to stay independent and healthy for as long as possible.
A number of innovative projects have already been introduced across east and west Suffolk to help achieve these aims, which will be supported further by the transformation fund. These include a mental health support scheme at Thurston College for students and staff, the development of social prescribing initiatives to give people access to non-clinical ways of improving their wellbeing, and the introduction of the Dutch Buurtzorg care model, which offers personalized local neighbourhood nursing services.
A total of 128 bids were received for a share of the £4.8 million funding pot were received, with 46 projects chosen after careful scrutiny by a panel of experts from organisations including both CCGs, Healthwatch Suffolk, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk GP Federation and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Among the cash awards to successful projects were:
- £46.5 K to support 1,000 self-help “myHeart” apps
- £78 K to support trials of the ‘Living Life To the Full’ initiative to increase access to mental wellbeing support at 27 rural GP practices
- £116 K towards 12 community health care assistants to support the frail elderly in their own home, and
- £9 K to aid health education and empowerment for refugees and asylum seekers
Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Officer for both CCGs, said: “This funding will support projects that will assist people to live well in their own community and enjoy good physical and mental wellbeing.
“This can only be achieved through very close working between partners and will help ensure health and social care services have a sustainable future.
“It is pleasing that so many organisations with so many good ideas applied for this funding. Some of projects have received a sizeable sum, others more modest amounts. This reflects how projects both big and small can make a positive difference to people’s lives.
“Over the coming months we’ll be monitoring the projects to ensure that the funding is being used effectively to support our local community.”
Andy Yacoub, CEO of Healthwatch Suffolk, who chaired the panel, said: “I would like to thank the CCGs for doing something different by inviting stakeholders to be part of the decision on how this transformation money could be used, rather than by making in-house decisions as has sometimes been the case in the past. It’s brave, open and shows that the CCGs respect their partners in the east and west Suffolk health and care system.”