Sunderland site is chosen to pilot Better Care Scheme

by Amy Williams

A multi million pound scheme to cut hospital admissions is being piloted at an NHS Property Services site in Sunderland.

The £3.8 billion Better Care Fund, due to be rolled out across England in 2015, aims to bring together health and social care, so vulnerable people spend less time in hospital.

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins visited Houghton Primary Care Centre to welcome the £160 million programme, developed by Sunderland City Council and the city’s NHS.

The new scheme, which will join spending on adult social care and out-of-hospital healthcare, aims for a 15 per cent reduction in Sunderland’s emergency hospital admissions by 2020, and a seven per cent drop in the number of older people going into residential care.

Mr Hopkins said: “I have spoken to front-line nurses and carers, they believe this is the right route.

“The Houghton Primary Care Centre is a great example of this working in action, as it already treats people out of hospital and closer to home.”

Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Being able to deliver the right kind of care for both mental and physical well-being, often closer to home, is absolutely central to what we are trying to achieve.”

Paul Swansbury,  NHS Property Services’ Area Service Manager for the North of England, said: “The facility boasts a variety of services that will benefit this scheme, including a minor injuries walk in centre, x- ray, ultrasound, physio, diabetic foot and eye screening and a 24 bed Intermediate Care Unit.  All clinical services are also fully supported with in house catering facilities and a full facilities management service.

“The site has been adopted by the local community and is also used for functions including various sporting events in conjunction with the local authority.”