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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Pioneering Portsmouth – momentum builds for better care

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Events, Integration, Viewpoint

Eight weeks into her post as Head of Better Care in Portsmouth, Jo York  prepares  to present an update on the region's Better Care plans to a diverse audience of local health and social care staff, service users, carers and partners from across the south coast city.

Jo York is an experienced social care and NHS commissioning manager, with a background in clinical governance and older people’s services. She is now head of Better Care in Portsmouth.
Jo York: "Better care sets some challenging national conditions, but is also helping us drive further and faster in a direction we already know we have to go."

On 2 October, we'll be talking to people from the statutory, independent and voluntary and community sectors. It won't be the first time that many of these people will have heard of Better Care in Portsmouth, but it will be a first opportunity to discuss the plans with such a varied cohort. It promises to be an exciting morning.

I couldn't miss the chance to get involved in a flagship programme like Better Care because its focus on integration is set to change the way we make health and care services work together in England, for our population today and tomorrow. Better Care sets some challenging national conditions, but is also helping us drive further and faster in a direction we already know we have to go.

In Portsmouth, the over 85 age group is the one that will increase the most over the next few years. We have a display in our offices about celebrating an 85th birthday at home. Being with loved ones and propping up cards from friends on the mantelpiece really demonstrates what Better Care will mean for people (and some colleagues have been planning far grander celebrations!).

The display serves as a good reminder that we are shaping support which wraps around people, making processes simple, and preventing illness and loss of independence. It's what we want for ourselves, our parents, partners, families and friends.

But why are we are heralding the arrival of Better Care with a stakeholder launch event now - with plans having just been resubmitted and six months still to go until the Better Care Fund becomes official in April 2015?

Well, our city has some advantages which mean we can move quicker. Our CCG and  local authority have the same geographical boundaries, which have helped us integrate a number of our community services over recent years, including mental health, learning disabilities and our Portsmouth rehabilitation and reablement team. One of the things this history of integration has taught us is that it is crucial to gain buy in and bring your partners, stakeholders, patients and service users with you. We believe this behind the scenes work has paid dividends in the past and helps us work together now.

We have greater GP Engagement than ever before, with clinical leaders at the heart of delivering projects within our plans. It’s a good position to be in but we won't be resting on our laurels. Our event this October is a chance to build up momentum, and ensure every member of our community understands what's in it for them and what they can contribute to make better care come alive.

Find out more
Portsmouth's Better Care Stakeholder launch takes place on 2 October 2014.

Email: for more information.

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  1. Comment by Dr Felix Ugwumadu posted on

    I welcome change when there are strategic visions. In recent years health and social care have been overwhelmed with changes with forecasted milestones but had never materialised. These changes have duplicated service frameworks and were funded with the hope that it is a new scheme. Some examples of these are as follows; Single Assessment Process, Integrated Health and social Care, One Stop-Shop Health and Social Care etc.
    This pattern of organisational change tantamount to economic wastage. It is an opportunity for some to earn their wages at the expense of the tax payers. This sort unending change without end result would possibly be allowed only flourish in a welfare sectors.
    It must be understood that we are working to support vulnerable people who may not be able to speak for themselves yet, the professionals and the politicians continues to play with words rather than listening to users/clients and , or their relatives. Supporting people with mental health disorder, older people and other client groups should focus on user engagement, participation as well as treating/seeing them as individuals rather than homogenous commodities.
    Since the enactment of the NHS and community care, the emphasis has been to promote community wellbeing and engagement, where users could strive, being part of decision making for their needs. Instead what has transgressed is duplication of frameworks which does not support clients to maximise their potential to manage their needs.
    On refection, change must not be a replication of old service frameworks for a new NAMEs, which would not after-all yield new to uplift their burden, but waste of money.