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Pioneering the next steps in integrated care in Torbay and South Devon

Photo: Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust with others
The merger will be the first to bring together acute and community health alongside social care in the country.

Published: 1 October 2015

On Thursday 1 October 2015 community health and adult social care in Torbay and South Devon is integrating with Torbay Hospital services to provide local people with a more joined-up service.

This means that for the first time one single organisation will be responsible for acute and community healthcare along with adult social care services. This will enable more flexible care to be provided for the 375,000 people who live in the area.

The new pioneering organisation, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (TSDFT), will bring together the 6,000 staff currently working across two Trusts, Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust and South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The two Trusts have a history of close working but bringing them together in one organisation will remove some of the barriers to working in the best interests of patients and clients.

The merger will be the first to bring together acute and community health alongside social care in the country. People in Torbay and South Devon will benefit from being able to receive the services they need from one single provider working alongside their GP to provide great care closer to home.

People are living longer and, while this is to be celebrated, this means that more people are living with complex long term health conditions like heart failure, or need social care to help them live their life to the full. Radical changes in health and care provision are needed if we are to be able to continue to provide the high quality care that they deserve. As a single integrated care organisation, TSDFT will be much better able to meet this challenge. By being able to be more flexible we will be able to provide more care in communities and only in an acute hospital when it is medically needed.

However, the bringing together of the two Trusts is just the start of providing services that are more responsive to local people’s needs. Some health and care services have already integrated with great success, and the ambition is to integrate services in a much broader way that will fundamentally change the way services are provided for the local community.

Investing in community care over the next few years will introduce new and improved services to better meet the needs of people living in Torbay and South Devon. The focus will be on preventing ill health, working in partnership with people and their local community to see how best their needs can be met and providing a broader range of services at local level supported by GPs, specialist nurses and therapy professionals, social care staff and hospital specialists, and in developing Torbay Hospital as a hub for specialist care and advice.

Sir Richard Ibbotson, Chairman of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust added: “I want to pay tribute to all who have been involved in enabling this merger to become a reality. We have been working towards this moment for quite some time and have received tremendous support from our partners Torbay Council, South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group and Devon County Council as well as our partners in the voluntary sector.

“There is a long history of joined up working across both the Trusts that are merging today and with our partners we look forward to delivering good care and tackling the issues that affect the health and wellbeing of people who live in Torbay and South Devon.

“Both Trusts have earned an excellent reputation for high quality care and innovative ways of working and this formal merger will now mean we can work completely as one to deliver the health and care changes so we can continue to be innovative in the way we provide excellent services now and in the future.”

Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am proud and privileged to be one of 6,000 staff joining this exciting new organisation, and I am personally committed to making sure we deliver the improvements that local people have asked for and deserve.

“This merger will enable us to harness the energy and skills of the dedicated staff who will be at the heart of this new integrated care organisation and to implement best care, learning from local and national best practice.

“It will allow us to use the funding we receive – around £350m per year – in a way that is more responsive and innovative, working for and with people to deliver care to better meet their needs. Our ambition is that we will be able to better help people to maintain and improve their independence and to support them to manage their conditions as the experts by experience. It will allow us to be more flexible about where services are provided and to increase the range of care provided in and by local communities.”

Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver, said: “This is a ground breaking initiative for Torbay and South Devon. As a council, we are committed to working with our partners to ensure that the best health and care provision is delivered and we will continue to do this with the new organisation.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this happen and I look forward to seeing the benefits of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust which will offer more seamless services tailored to the requirements of people in the Bay.”

Dr Nick Roberts, chief clinical officer of South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for the majority of healthcare in the area, welcomed the news. He said: “The creation of an integrated health and care organisation is really important for the people of South Devon and Torbay. They will see more consistency across the system, receiving coordinated care that really meets individual needs.

“A lot of people have worked very hard to ensure this has happened, to provide excellent joined-up care for everyone, now and for the future.”