THE ISLE of Wight Council and NHS has unveiled a three-year plan to improve health and care services — aimed at keeping people out of hospital and care homes by supporting them to live more independently at home.

According to the Isle of Wight Health and Care Plan, published today (Wednesday), more than £800,000 will be invested in community services.

The money will also be used to place district nurses and therapists into A&E to work alongside a social worker who has been based there for several months and has helped divert people from away from an unnecessary hospital admission.

The plan includes a pledge to increase the number of permanent clinical staff working at the NHS — while reducing reliance on expensive agency workers — and a commitment to keep off-Island travel for services to a minimum.

It also sets out plans for mental health services, which will be redesigned to provide tailored support.

Isle of Wight NHS Trust chief executive Maggie Oldham said the investment was good news for Islanders.

She said: “It shows we are serious about bringing health and social care services more closely together, looking after people much more closer to home and helping them to live healthy, independent lives.

“We have been working together for many years but in the last few months have taken a different approach and can already see the benefits as our services are improving.

“We know there is more to do and we are totally committed to delivering the best possible services for our community.”

Maggie MacIsaac, chief executive of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: "We all have a common goal and aim — to improve health and care for people — and we are committed to working both with organisations on and off the Island to draw on the benefits of bringing in as much care, knowledge and experience, as possible.

“Helping people stay out of hospital, by ensuring they have the right networks of care in place around them, is central to our vision, as this not only helps improve the quality of their overall experience but reduces our reliance on more costly, inpatient hospital care.”

Council chief executive John Metcalfe said improvements in social care services means the council could now work more closely with the health sector — 'to ensure an individual’s health and care needs are met seamlessly without the need for them to be concerned about who is providing their services.'

He said: "We still have much to do, but this plan gives us a clear framework for how we can collectively develop these services for the benefit of our community.

“The council and the local NHS face significant financial challenges and it is only by planning and delivering health and care in truly integrated ways that will we simultaneously improve services and deliver value for money to the public purse.”

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