What is Connect?

Obesity - A Positive LifestyleLocal people in Suffolk have called for health and social care services to work together much more closely and to link in with the local community. This is backed up by the Health and Wellbeing Board in Suffolk and their vision that the population of Suffolk live happy and healthy lives. Connect is here to help make this happen.

Connect is about bringing professionals and communities together as Integrated Neighbourhood Teams (INTs), this includes health professionals (for example – doctors, district nurses, occupational therapists and mental health practitioners), social care professionals, councillors, police, fire and rescue and the ambulance service as well as organisations working in communities (for example – the church and libraries) and charities (for example – Suffolk Age UK and Suffolk Family Carers) as part of the Integrated Care Model. Having the right people involved is important from grass roots organisations through to the senior management in health including Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Social Care.

By doing this, Connect will grow the skills and knowledge of public services professionals and staff to work more closely with local people and their communities, and encourage them to think differently about the problems individuals face. It will also bring all the necessary information together to help find solutions that work quickly, efficiently and effectively.

Connect will promote care that is focussed on the person needing it and will reduce duplication, confusion and delays. It will help individuals to be more involved and in control of their care, have a single point of contact and a better understanding of what they need and where to go to get the earliest possible help though their Neighbourhood Networks.

The aims of Connect are:

  • To help people manage their health and social care with the right support in place
  • Make sure that health and social care work together effectively with all the relevant services (for example – housing, mental health and Children and Young Peoples Services) along with local community organisations/groups to support people with care that is clear for them to understand
  • Ensure that the needs of the whole family (including informal carers) are being considered and that health and social care professionals know where to refer for help whatever the age of the family member
  • Ensure that people are aware of how their community can help them to have the support they need
  • Make sure that services are the best possible value for money

This in turn should:

  • Reduce loneliness
  • Reduce unnecessary hospital admissions
  • Result in better health outcomes e.g. improved self-care and better understanding of where to go for support
  • Allow more people to stay at home longer with community care and support
  • Encourage more people to find community support through simplified and well promoted first access points
  • Reduce forced evictions and homelessness.

Originally this way of working was trialled in two early adopter sites – Sudbury and East Ipswich. Currently, there are 13 confirmed areas where Connect work is being focused upon with each area covering the surrounding towns and villages – these are:

  • East Ipswich. (IP3/4)
  • West Ipswich (IP1/2)
  • South Rural
  • Felixstowe
  • Stowmarket
  • Eye / North West
  • Saxmundham/ Aldeburgh, Leiston and Framlingham
  • Woodbridge
  • Sudbury
  • Forest Heath
  • Bury Town
  • Bury Rural
  • Haverhill

Waveney and surrounding area has adopted its own approach to Connect based on the needs/history of the area.


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