Health and care services in the borough of Rochdale are undergoing a transformation thanks to the local impact of the Greater Manchester devolution deal that saw the release of £23.5m over four years into the borough.
Devolution means decisions about how to care for residents are taken locally – allowing local expertise, experiences and situations to shape health and social care.
Over the past 18 months transformation funds have kick-started some innovative ways of working that are already improving health and wellbeing, examples of this are:
- new 24-hour facilities at Rochdale Infirmary are supporting patients in crisis who are known to mental health services
- more than 2,500 local people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes have been referred to an advice and support service to help them reduce their risk
- a new online directory of services has provided information and support to close to 385,000 people in its first year
- over 900 local people have been helped by new staff accessed from their GP surgeries with issues like benefits and employment problems which has allowed them to lead healthier and happier lives.
A range of services are now being delivered in the heart of communities by teams made up of different professions, roles and employers to improve the way in which they work together for the needs of residents. Many new services are focussing on promoting good health and preventing illness.
Other essential services have been introduced to speed up the care of patients who are poorly but where hospital admission is not the best care option. One of these is a mobile paramedic who can attend to treat and stabilise patients in their own homes rather than admitting them to hospital unnecessarily.
Another example benefits mental health patients locally, now that certain drug clinics are offered in community settings rather than being hospital based.
Local GP and clinical Chair of Heywood Middleton and Rochdale CCG, Dr Chris Duffy said: “We have been able to use the transformation funds to put in place specific services that are improving the care and experience of local people. We have transformed the way in which teams now work in the borough, to ensure that poor communication about the care of residents between different practitioners is a thing of the past.”
There have also been important changes to the way in which decisions are made to the way services are planned, funded and delivered. Bringing health service and council functions together has streamlined ways of working to improve efficiency and focus more on the needs of residents. The organisations that deliver the care to residents from hospitals, clinics, surgeries and other neighbourhood bases are now working together as a partnership known as a local care organisation, which in Rochdale is termed ‘One Rochdale health and care’. This alliance allows for flexible ways of delivering services that would not have been possible before due to differences and unnecessary ‘red tape’.
Steve Rumbelow is the council chief executive as well as the accountable officer of the local clinical commissioning group. He said: “We have made massive strides in identifying and implementing measures that are already having a very real positive impact on local people’s lives. Transformation funds have allowed us to have this freedom and flexibility. At the same time bringing together our management functions continues to release efficiencies as well as provide a single line of sight. Our single leadership team, integrated commissioning board – as well the local alliance of provider organisations, the Local Care Organisation – are testament to the way we have swept away organisational barriers and silo working in Rochdale.”