Integrated care – frequently asked questions

We are proud to be an integrated care organisation – this means that our 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. Since 2005 there has been a successful integrated community health and adult social care service for Torbay. In 2015 we merged acute health care with community health and adult social care into one integrated care organisation.

Q. What services are provided by the integrated trust?

We run Torbay Hospital and the area’s community hospitals, as well as multi-disciplinary health and social care teams in the community. Our teams work closely with the rest of the health service and partner organisations including the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, 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. Our vision is better health and care for all. We want 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 you to look after your own health and wellbeing, with support available when needed.

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 people’s community support to help them get back home and to avoid lots of repeat visits for check-ups afterwards.