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CQC finds strong partnership in Sutton’s health and social care services

The Chief Inspector of Primary Care Services has praised health and social care organisations in the London Borough of Sutton for their work in improving care for people as they move between hospitals and social care.

A Care Quality Commission review that focuses on the experiences of people moving between hospitals and care homes has concluded that a strong commitment to partnership working across most local organisations in Sutton is paying off.

In the past three years, there has been a reduction in the number of older people needing to go to hospital in an emergency and a reduction in avoidable healthcare conditions among people in care homes.

The report concludes that:
•           There is a clear strategic approach to collaborative working in Sutton, with clear leadership and a shared desire to improve care for people living in care homes in Sutton.
•           There is a strong commitment to partnership working across the majority of organisations and stakeholders in Sutton.

The CQC report found that that staff in local hospitals and those working in the care sector feel a strong partnership and commitment in working together to provide the best care.  Access to training and support has increased the confidence of many care workers.

Sutton CCG was clear about its role in supporting and driving change, providing a care home support team that includes link nurses to support care home staff and give training to ensure that they all have the same approach.

Specialist end of life care nurses provide training, liaison, support and role modelling to care staff, and care home pharmacists provide medication reviews for residents as well as advice to care home staff.

In the past three years there has been a reduction in ambulance call outs and emergency admissions to hospital, a reduction in overall medicines costs, and a fall in the number of urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers and falls among residents of care homes.

Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group and its partners have won widespread recognition for introducing the Hospital Transfer Pathway initiative known as the Red Bag – which helps people living in care homes receive quick and effective treatment if they need to go into hospital in an emergency.

The Red Bag contains standardised information about a resident’s general health and any existing medical conditions or medication, easily accessible to ambulance and hospital staff.  It accompanies people as they go into hospital – and when they come out again.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Care Services, said: “The London Borough of Sutton has shown just what can be achieved when everybody in the system works together to support joined up care.

“Across the country NHS and social care services are coming together to identify ways of providing care more flexibly and efficiently to meet the needs of our ageing population.

“It is more important than ever that local authorities, social care providers and their NHS colleagues in acute, community and primary medical services work together in mature, purposeful and trusting relationships.

“If they can achieve that – as they have in Sutton – there is every chance that the communities those organisations serve will be provided with good quality care.  And that’s vital for all those people living with long term conditions who may need to move between health and care services as their needs change.”