Matthew Swindells, NHS England National Director for Operations and Information visited the Isle of Wight last week (Friday 3 February) to see first-hand, how the Island is working together to tackle some of its health and care challenges as part of the My Life a Full Life new model of care.
His visit included a chance to hear about Isle Help, a multi-faceted source of online, face-face and telephone information designed to help Island residents to manage their health and improve their access to community groups and other sources of support.
During his visit, he also heard about the award-winning Serenity Integrated Monitoring Project -jointly run by Hampshire Constabulary and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust and supported by Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) - bringing together policing and healthcare skills to achieve a positive difference to the lives of mental health patients and their families.
His visit also included a tour of the Island’s Integrated Care Hub where a range of clinical and non-clinical staff from across the IW NHS Trust, Council and voluntary sector are co-located and work together to ensure that residents receive the right care, from the right service, in the right place and at the right time. It is an initiative, he heard, that has proved extremely successful in helping to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and enable many more people to be supported at home or in their local area – an approach which is central to the principles of the My Life a Full Life new model of care.
Colleagues from statutory agencies and the voluntary sector including Age UK IW, Community Action IW, People Matter IW and Public Health also had the opportunity to talk to Mr Swindells about community based initiatives they are involved in such as care navigation, local area coordination and the long-term conditions network which are helping people of all ages to access the right services and community support to increase their own resilience. Plus, how new technology like Rally Round, a new easy to use and safe social networking tool, is being implemented to help vulnerable residents or family members, friends and carers to support loved ones, so that they can stay longer in their own homes.
During his visit, Mr Swindells also gave a talk to representatives from across the health and care system about the NHS, it’s future and priorities. He highlighted the need for health and care partners nationally to work together to tackle the issue of increasing numbers of people who are ending up in hospital when they do not need to be there. He spoke of the need to support people with the right information so that they knew where they could seek help and to enable them to make the right choices. He also talked about the opportunity for using technology both to facilitate better data sharing amongst professionals and to help people to help themselves.
Mr Swindells said: “I congratulate the Isle of Wight on the initiatives it is collectively undertaking through its new care model, My Life a Full Life. There is some really good community work and integration happening here and that’s vital to helping tackle the challenges that the Island faces both in terms of the growing demand on services as the Island’s ageing population increases and those challenges it faces by virtue of it being an Island with limited access to alternative forms of care and support.
“I have been particularly impressed by the willingness of those that I have met today to work together across organisational boundaries and sectors, and the innovation being shown in tackling those challenges to ensure residents have access to the right information and technology to enable them to better manage their health and care. It is actions like these that will stand the Island in good stead as it strives to ensure its health and care system is sustainable into the future.”