Integration in North East Lincolnshire

Featured article - 25 July 2017
By Rob Walsh, Chief Executive of North East Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Head-shot of the author, Rob Walsh, Chief Executive of North East Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group

The idea of integration between health and social care has been gaining more and more prominence recently. And there’s been much publicity about what’s going on in the North West of the country with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. But over here in North East Lincolnshire we’re also making a contribution in the same direction.

Because, as with elsewhere in the UK, people who use services, patients, carers - or whatever you want to call them – don’t always make the distinction between services provided by the NHS and those provided by the council.

We found that we have two organisations – the council and the clinical commissioning group - that serve the same population and have the wellbeing of the area and the people we serve at the core of what we do.

Ten years in the planning

And back in 2007 The Care Trust Plus was established; at the time it was a ground-breaking move that brought health and social care much closer together in North East Lincolnshire. With the advent of the clinical commissioning group the arrangements continued and our integrated health and social care partnership has continued to evolve.

Our whole focus is, fundamentally, about the wellbeing of people and place. We look at the wider issues of health – for instance whether people have challenges over jobs, housing and education – and we are looking at all of this strategically.

New role - new challenges

So it’s a huge honour being appointed as joint Chief Executive of the council and the clinical commissioning group, which cements that 10 year journey between the local authority and NHS colleagues.

Working even more cohesively across the council and local health spectrum can only help us to meet the health inequality and ‘inclusive growth’ challenges we face in our borough. This does represent the next natural step for our two organisations – bringing significant resources and capacity together, under the auspices of a single leadership team across both organisations. This is overseen by governance that promotes joint democratic and clinical leadership.

We are ready to take this next significant step. These are exciting times.

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