What is Connect?
Local people have called for health and social care services to work together much more closely. Health and social care needs to provide better value and be aware of additional groups and services provided by local charities and community groups that offer support and advice.
Connect, with the help of clinicians (GPs, nurses and hospital doctors), social care professionals, councillors and public representatives from local charities and groups, plus statutory organisations such as the police and the ambulance service, aims to bring all this together under one umbrella – simpler, increased value, better use of resources, and more helpful to both social services’ clients and NHS patients.
There are two early adopter sites in Suffolk for Connect – Connect Sudbury covers the town and the rural area surrounding it. Connect East Ipswich covers much of, but not all of, IP3 and IP4 postal districts.
Connect will focus on those people who need help, making sure that anyone in the community (including friends, neighbours, your local police officer, a shopkeeper or a health professional) can recognise when a person needs assistance – and knows how to get it for them, quickly and effectively.
Connect aims to join together everyone living in a community – individuals, small informal community groups, voluntary groups and organisations, libraries, church groups, charities and local businesses. It will encourage mutual support between all these groups and services from the public sector (district nurses, hospitals, social workers, police, fire and rescue, ambulance, and county, district and town and parish councils).
By doing so, Connect will also grow the skills and knowledge of public services staff to work more closely with local people and encourage them to think differently about the problems communities and individuals face and finally bring all the information together to help them come up with solutions that work for people quickly, efficiently and effectively.
Connect will promote care that is focussed on the person needing it and will reduce duplication, confusion and delays. It means too that each person needing help can understand and be involved in their care more easily, as they will have just one focussed point of contact.
With less confusion individuals will be able to take more direct responsibility for their own care and support and be better informed on what they need and how to get it, giving them much greater control over their lives and treatment.
Every Connect area will be different, but there will be some common underlying principles to make connections and community networks work best.
The main aims of Connect are not fully decided (and still subject to public consultation and experience), but could include:
- People living happier and more independent lives
- People feeling more in control of their lives
- People being more informed and taking personal responsibility for their health and social care
- People having greater choices about how to address needs and care requirements. Stronger communities and networks – better information about what is available that everyone can find easily
- Reduced loneliness
Which in turn should:
- Reduce unnecessary hospital admissions
- Reduce admissions to care homes
- Mean that fewer children will need child protection plans
- Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
- Result in better health outcomes e.g. increased breastfeeding, less obesity, and fewer people smoking
- See a reduction in homelessness
- Reduce misuse of and dependence on drugs, alcohol and other substances.