Integrated care – frequently asked questions
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is an Integrated Care Organisation, which means that the health and care community works together to deliver more integrated care.
Q. What is integrated care?
Most of us tend to think of the NHS as a single national organisation. In reality, different local health services are provided by several NHS trusts as well as GPs, pharmacies and so on.
The local health and care community is larger still, with social workers, nursing homes and voluntary sector organisations all playing a role in the wellbeing of our local population.
Someone with several different health-related conditions – which is increasingly common as we get older – might be looked after by half a dozen different health and care professionals. It is important that the different professionals work closely together to support local people. By providing more health and care in one single organisation, we are able to better provide care that is joined-up.
Q. What are the benefits of integrated care?
Integrating services makes a big difference to our ability to respond quickly and effectively to people’s needs. A good explanation of how it works can be seen in a short video, “Joined-up care: Sam’s story“.
An integrated service – where all the different professionals work for the same organisation or in the same team – means individuals only need to tell their story once, bureaucracy is reduced and care packages can be more flexible.
Our area has a reputation for being a leader in integrated care. There has been a successful integrated community health and adult social care service for Torbay for several years.
Now, we have merged acute health care with community health and adult social care into one integrated Trust.
Q. What services are provided by the integrated trust?
The new integrated trust will do all the work of the previous two trusts, providing services to over 300,000 people in Torbay and Devon.
We run Torbay Hospital and the area’s community hospitals, as well as multi-disciplinary health and social care teams in the community. These teams work closely with the rest of the health service to help people in their homes.
We work in partnership with GP practices, NHS dentists, pharmacies and opticians.
Q. How does this affect the care I receive?
Over time, the way we provide care – and the way you access it – may well change. The health and care community’s aim is to become much better at helping people to stay well. This means providing a lot more support in the community, more services closer to home and helping make sure you know what help there is available.
Eventually, as a result, we think fewer people will need hospital treatment because the community services will pick up problems before they become crisis. When a hospital visit is unavoidable, the acute teams and consultants will work closely with the patient’s community support to help them get back home and to avoid lots of repeat visits for check-ups afterwards.