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Regulator applauds ‘mature partnership’ in second local care system review

Integration of health and social care in Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, is working particularly effectively according to the latest CQC report.

The announcement is the second of 20 targeted local system reviews looking specifically at the transition of care for older people in communities and collaboration between local authorities and NHS organisations.

There was a documented relationship between Bracknell Forest Council and the local Ascot Commissioning Group which was commended for creating a smooth transition between the two sets of services.

Links between health and social care have been a contentious issue in recent times, with the CQC previously sending inspectors to 12 struggling authorities to try and diagnose the problems.

In particular, care for older people has been badly affected as many patients need to be moved between hospitals and community facilities which are not necessarily prepared to receive them.

In fact, Age UK found that almost four million bed days have been lost to people in hospitals because there was no appropriate care destination.

CQC chief inspector of primary care services, Professor Steve Field, said Bracknell’s example showed how a joined-up approach to leadership and clear strategic planning can make the system work.

“Our review of Bracknell Forest's services - and how they work together - has found a number of positive examples of shared initiatives that support local people to maintain their health in their usual place of residence and get access to services that are tailored to their individual needs when they need them,” commented the chief inspector.

“Although the system is working well, the big challenges for the future include managing the shortage of care home places and prioritising the development of an integrated workforce made up of skilled and competent staff.

“I am satisfied that these challenges are already recognised by all the agencies involved, and I am confident they will continue to work together to find a solution that serves the needs of older people in the Bracknell Forest area.”

Cllr Dale Birch, chairman of the Bracknell Forest health and wellbeing board, added: “I am pleased the hard work of council staff, health and voluntary sector partners has been recognised with the positive comments within this report.

“However, there is never room for complacency and our focus remains on continuing to transform our services, improving links between health and social care to ensure people get the right support while getting the most out of life.”

In addition, Dr William Tong, clinical chair for Bracknell and Ascot CCG, spoke of his delight at the conclusions of the report and urged anyone who deals in social care to read the study.

“The CCG welcomes the highly positive CQC report on health and care for its residents in Bracknell,” Tong commented.

“We have embedded strong relationships and leadership, and empowered our teams to work together which enables us as partners to further improve in the areas that have been identified and recognised by the CQC as being the right ones. I recommend anyone who has not read the full report to do so.”

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