A plan to trial a ‘community based operating model’ for social work and care was examined last week by members of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee.
Members of the committee heard an update on plans for several pilot areas which will provide support in the community at an earlier stage, to prevent or delay health issues in the future.
The aim is to enable people to stay independent for longer and avoid stays in hospital or care homes.
Linking up with local groups and the voluntary sector and helping people to access existing services will be important aspects of the new way of working.
Avril Wilson, the County Council’s Executive Director for Care, Wellbeing and Education, said: “We want to work with local people, their families and carers to make sure they get the right care at the right time. It’s about helping people before they need more traditional types of services, meeting them more informally to help them stay healthy and in control of their lives.
“This isn’t replacing any of those traditional services. We will still be there for people when they need us. But we hope that an emphasis on preventative services and early contact with people will increase independence and address care needs before they escalate.
“We know similar models have worked well in other parts of the country and we’re keen to see a move in the same direction here in West Sussex.”
It is planned to launch seven areas known as ‘innovation sites’ in January 2017 where people can have conversations about their needs at an early stage.
The following areas are being considered:
• Adur area
• Chichester area
• East Grinstead
Bryan Turner, Chairman of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, said: “It was important for the committee to hear more about these plans which we know will involve many people in our local communities.
“The committee welcomed the direction that is being proposed and made a number of suggestions which we hope will make this way of working even more beneficial for residents.”
During the meeting the committee asked:
• That work continues with partners to focus on provision for older residents and end of life care
• That further consideration be given to the location of innovation sites
• That the use of technology be encouraged
• That a small number of representatives from the committee liaise with officers on an ongoing basis to monitor the development of the project
• That the vision is formed and shared before it is subject to a final decision in Autumn 2017
Information from the innovation sites will be used to draw up proposals for a countywide service which will be the subject of a consultation during summer 2017.
A decision on whether to roll out the new model will then be made by the Cabinet Member in autumn 2017.
If the countywide scheme is introduced it is hoped it would be up and running by January 2018.