How health and care work together
When the NHS was set up in the 1940s its aim was to treat symptoms. It has come a long way since then, supporting people to live healthier lives. The Health and Care Act 2022 aims to make social care and health even more joined up.
Working together as equal partners is extremely important. For example, our councils have taken steps to improve the health of their communities in their policies and plans for housing, early years, growth, skills, and employment. They also have lots of information about their communities such as levels of poverty and housing problems, which they share with health services. They also do lots of work to prevent ill health, run social care services and are in a good position to make sure that people’s needs are linked up with health and the voluntary community social enterprise sector. This means that if someone is leaving hospital, they can make sure there is support, either in a care home, extra care schemes, sheltered housing or when they return home.
This approach is called integrated care. It is about giving people the support they need, joined up across local councils, the NHS, and other partners including care providers, the voluntary, community, social enterprise sector and charities. It involves partnerships of organisations coming together to plan and deliver seamless health and care services to improve the lives of people in their area.
This brilliant video by The Kings Fund explains how integrated care systems are developing.
How our West Yorkshire system fits together
Integrated care systems are geographically based partnerships that bring together organisations that meet health and care needs, improve people’s health, and reduce inequalities. There are forty-two in England – which includes West Yorkshire Integrated Care System, known as West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.
They have four key purposes:
- improving outcomes in people’s health and healthcare
- tackling inequalities in outcomes, experience, and access
- enhancing productivity and value for money
- supporting broader social and economic development.
Our system is called West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership. It is a large integrated care system that supports 2.4 million people, living in urban and rural areas. 770,000 are children and young people. 530,000 people live in areas ranked in the most deprived 10% of England. 20% of people are from minority ethnic communities. Together we employ over 100,000 staff and work alongside thousands of volunteers. There are an estimated 400,000 unpaid carers living in West Yorkshire. Having an accurate number for unpaid carers is difficult because many are unknown to services and don’t access support.
Our Partnership brings together the NHS, councils, Healthwatch, hospices and the voluntary community social enterprise sector, to work better with communities to keep everyone healthier; plan and deliver health services more effectively; make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly; help health and care services become as efficient as possible whilst contributing to the wider economy, for example good jobs for good health.
It is made up of two statutory elements:
- West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Board, involving all the different organisations which support people’s health and care
- West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, a new organisation, overseen by a board. It supports integration within the NHS to take a joint approach to agreeing and delivering ambitions for the health of the 2.4million people living across our area. The board oversees NHS money and helps to make sure the services are in place to make the Partnership Board Strategy become a reality on the ground.
In addition, there are similar partnerships in each of the five ‘places’ that make up West Yorkshire, in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and right here in Wakefield district. Each ‘place’ is different and brings unique strengths and perspectives to our Partnership. However, we share challenges and have one common goal – to improve people’s health and wellbeing through delivering quality care and support when needed.
Our local partnership
Our place-based partnership is called Wakefield District Health and Care Partnership. It works to improve the health and wellbeing of local people, by reducing health inequalities, providing continuity of care and improving our services. Our partnership includes NHS organisations, Wakefield Council, Healthwatch Wakefield, housing, voluntary and community sector organisations. We are proud to be part of West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.