AN ambitious new plan to tackle health inequalities, boost public health and care provision, and improve the quality of life for thousands of Warrington residents has been given the green light.
Warrington’s Health and Wellbeing Board, (HWB) which oversees the delivery of health and wellbeing services in Warrington, has unanimously approved a new place-based health and care five-year plan, a blueprint that will shape health and social care up until 2024.
Under the new strategic vision, council and NHS services will collaborate more closely than ever to deliver a more sustainable and trusted health and social care system for all the town’s residents, aiming to create a more caring, healthier and safer Warrington.
The new plan will also forge closer ties between the public sector and third sector, by encouraging closer working with voluntary organisations to tackle the underlying causes of ill-health and inequalities for Warringtonians.
The plan is intended to create better integration between all key health and social care providers, driving improvements for local communities through the new ‘Warrington Together’ model. The model, which is creating sustainable, multi-agency healthcare teams in key town locations, is also proving to reap rewards for residents.
Through the plan, healthcare providers will also work closely with other critical services, including the council’s housing and homelessness teams, as well as schools, colleges, businesses and local communities.
Professor Steven Broomhead is Chair of the Warrington Health and Wellbeing Board, the driving force behind the bold, new strategy.
“Closer collaboration between all the agencies who have a role to play in health and social care is critical for the long-term health of our town,” said Steven. “This new plan sets the blueprint for delivering sustainable, long-term improvements in health and wellbeing provision, so that everyone – whoever they are and wherever they might live – can experience the benefits of better care.
“We understand the complex challenges Warrington is facing; a growing, changing and ageing population, more people with multiple chronic and long-term conditions and an ever more challenging budget environment within which we have to work. But we are stronger together as a whole than through the sum of our parts, and it will take vision, hard work and a genuine commitment to integration if we are to provide the health and social care services our residents truly deserve.
“The new place-based plan supports our efforts to bring together the best agencies, people, skills and resources from across the borough and ensure they are reaching the heart of our communities. And it is key that we use all the data and intelligence – as well as the tools and technologies – available to us, to ensure we’re delivering where it matters.
“There’s no doubt there will be challenges in the next three to five years, but with this plan now in place, we’re well on our way to meeting the needs of our changing population and addressing the inequalities that exist in our borough, as they do in every other borough in the UK. But we’re committed to delivering for all, and that work starts now.”
At a national level, policies increasingly recognise the importance of prevention and a place-based, whole-system approach to addressing inequalities. The NHS Long-Term Plan commits to NHS action on preventing ill-health and sets out how the NHS will also support work to address wider determinants of health. The new plan, as well as pioneering approaches through projects like Warrington Together, align seamlessly with this vision.
Locally, Warrington now has large-scale transformational programmes of work which are bringing about a shift towards an increasingly whole-system approach aiming to combat deprivation and to prioritise prevention over cure.
“Over the last few years, Warrington’s health services have radically improved in so many ways, and we’re a town that is bucking some of the more negative national trends,” said Councillor Rebecca Knowles, who sits of the HWB.
“In recent years, we’ve placed greater emphasis on the community-led approach and because of this the pressures on our hospitals have been reduced. That’s testament not only to our strategy locally, but to the commitment to integration of our health and wellbeing providers and the highly skilled people on the frontline of our health and social care services.
“I’m confident that, through this new plan, we will see the quality of life for local residents improved and that we will find better ways to help people to access appropriate, quality care when and where they need it. We’ll continue to utilise our collective resources so that they best support the local health and social care needs of our people and allow the borough to get the best possible value from its health and wellbeing services.”
The plan has now been sent to The Cheshire & Merseyside Health & Care Partnership, which sets out how the health and care systems across the region can remain fit for the future.