Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has announced that it is to become the first health service organisation to enter the home care market.
It follows a successful bid for a new service contract from Devon County Council and two clinical commissioning groups – Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG and South Devon and Torbay CCG.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for both the trust and for our patients”
The service, called Devon Cares, will deliver high-quality care that supports people’s health, wellbeing and independence, according to the trust.
The council announced the decision to appoint the trust as “prime contractor” for domiciliary care in Northern and Mid Devon in March. The plans have now been approved by the trust’s board.
As prime contractor, the trust will not directly deliver domiciliary care but will instead manage care providers to ensure a continually improving quality and consistency of service.
Through the contract, staff will benefit from improved pay and support arrangements, as well as more opportunities for training and a clearer career path, said the trust.
In return, the move will allow the trust to influence the quality of care given outside of its hospitals and ensure providers are working to support patients’ ability to live independently.
Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare, said the service would “act as a bridge” between health and social care, helping the trust provide “better, more joined-up care” for patients between home and hospital.
“Providing high quality, consistent care at home will also help us to prevent avoidable hospital admissions,” she said.
“We also believe this will also allow us to address many of the care capacity problems and blockages facing the wider health system in Devon,” she said.
The trust said it would shortly begin the process of selecting care providers for Devon Cares.
Dr Diamond added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for both the trust and for our patients.
“This is a completely new approach to domiciliary care that we hope will bring real benefits to people in Northern and Mid Devon,” she said.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has been appointed to manage domiciliary care in the following areas:
- Zone 1: Bideford, Northam, Great Torrington and Holsworthy
- Zone 2: Ilfracombe, Lynton, Lynmouth, Barnstaple and South Molton
- Zone 3: Tiverton, Crediton and Cullompton