Care scheme is a success

COUNCILLORS have hailed a community scheme that aims to help people live more independently a “tremendous success” – and backed plans to roll it out.

The Connected Care model, which was first launched in the Owton area of Hartlepool three years ago, uses “navigators” as a first point of contact for residents with health and social care problems.

The service aims to keep people out of hospital, or if they have just left, to keep them at home.

It has been such a success that it could be rolled out in the north and central areas of town over the next two years in a £680,0000 scheme.

Details of where the services will be based are yet to be confirmed but an investigation by councillors has recommended a strategy be devised to identify the areas that would most benefit.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee met recently to discuss the scrutiny investigation by the health scrutiny forum.

It found that there was support within organisations involved in Connected Care to see the service rolled out but that care needs to be taken to ensure there is no duplication of other schemes in communities.

Labour councillor Ged Hall, who has been heavily involved in Connected Care from the very beginning, said: “The model sees local people go round to people’s homes and talk to them about their issues.

“They don’t just look at one issue such as their health or benefits but they look at the whole person and their individual needs.

“I think what the scrutiny report is calling for is simply more of the same.

“It has been a massive success in Owton and we should be looking to roll this out to other areas of the town.”

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves wanted more information about whether Connected Care is a brand, a process or an organisation.

Nicola Bailey, the council’s director of child and adults services, said: “My perception is that it is a model.

“It is not about one organisation. From my perspective it is about connecting a number of organisations in one area.”

Coun Hargreaves added: “The scheme has been tremendously successful and it is credit to all those involved.”

Other services offered by Connected Care include a magazine which goes to every home in the ward, a handy person repair service, out reach sessions and a benefits and welfare advice service.

There is also a partnership with the Accent Foundation Trust to refurbish flats and support vulnerable young people with their tenancies and a Supported Access to Independent Living Service (SAILS) which supports vulnerable older people.

Connected Care, which is embedded in Manor Residents’ Association, in Kilmarnock Road, is a partnership between residents, ward councillors and community associations.

The service is funded by the council, PCT and other sources drawn in by a community interest company, Who Cares (NE).