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Liverpool community plans ‘bring clarity’ for nursing staff

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Community nursing staff working in Liverpool and Sefton will continue to be part of the NHS, under latest proposals on the future provision of community services for the area.

The announcement confirms the break-up of a community provider that was heavy criticised earlier this year for its aggressive pursuit of financial savings and foundation trust status, leading to a culture of bullying and harassment and substandard patient care.

“This announcement decision will bring further clarity and certainty for our staff”

Moira Angel

Under the new plans, services currently provided by Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust will be divided up between two partnerships of other local providers from April 2017.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will run the trust’s Liverpool services as the contract holder, in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Liverpool General Practice Provider Organisation.

Meanwhile, in a similar partnership model, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust will take over the running of Liverpool Community’s Sefton services with mental health provider 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The Bridgewater-led partnership will see services arranged in a more joined-up manner across the city, linking community health and social care services together in “local neighbourhoods” in order to better co-ordinate care.

The move is in line with the existing Healthy Liverpool plan, which was developed by local commissioners to introduce a new model of community care centred around the needs of patients.

“We have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of local people”

Katherine Sheerin

It will include the creation of multi-disciplinary “community care teams”, comprising community and district nursing, health visiting, pharmacists, social workers and therapists working with GPs.

Joined-up electronic health and care records will also allow staff to “access patient information at their fingertips” and identify those who will benefit most from intensive support. In addition, “clear links” will be built with hospital teams so all community care is “fully co-ordinated”.

The regulator NHS Improvement said it would now undertake detailed financial and regulatory checks on both trust’s plans before confirming the new arrangements before April next year.

Colin Scales, chief executive of Bridgewater Community Healthcare, said: “We look forward to welcoming LCH’s Liverpool-based staff to Bridgewater and working in partnership with the Liverpool GP Federation and Liverpool City Council to deliver more joined-up care with the local hospitals for local people.

“By bringing together these organisations we will be able to deliver services that are more integrated and matched to the expectations of people living in a modern and dynamic city,” he said.

“We will be able to deliver services that are more integrated and matched”

Colin Scales

Joe Rafferty, chief executive of Mersey Care, said: “The tender process has created an ideal opportunity to further develop and improve the way we work with partner organisations and we are grateful that Sefton commissioners have had the foresight to build a truly integrated community physical and mental health service.”

Katherine Sheerin, chief officer of Liverpool CCG, added: “Making more care available in communities, closer to people’s homes, rather than in hospital, is a key part of our Healthy Liverpool programme. Today’s decision will help us accelerate these plans.

“We will have a unique partnership between Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool City Council, and Liverpool General Practice Provider Organisation,” she said. “By bringing together health and care services in this way, we have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group

Liverpool community plans ‘bring clarity’ for nursing staff

Katherine Sheerin

The announcement, made yesterday, follows Liverpool Community’s decision in January 2015 to halt plans to become a foundation trust and, instead, focus on hiring extra nurses and improving out-of-hospital services.

In March this year it published an independent review that showed that the way the trust went about its bid to become a standalone FT had been one of the factors behind an unsafe drive for savings and a chronic shortage of frontline clinical staff, which regulators identified in January 2014.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the damning review identified a catalogue of governance and care failings that were likened to those found at the former Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. The report said the trust’s culture was seen as “oppressive” with staff “driven to the brink.”

However, earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission found the trust had recruited more frontline clinicians to ensure safer staffing levels, and praised “significant improvements in the culture of the organisation”.

The findings echoed the conclusions of the review published in March 2016, which judged that the trust had “turned an important corner”, following several years of deep-rooted problems.

Liverpool Community NHS Trust

Liverpool community plans ‘bring clarity’ for nursing staff

Moira Angel

Moira Angel, Liverpool Community’s interim director of nursing, said the announcement of the decision on future preferred providers “will bring further clarity and certainty for our staff as we move forward”.

“I very much hope that the final decision next year will ensure the progress they have made will be sustained and taken forward in the years ahead,” she said.

Lyn Simpson, NHS Improvement’s executive regional managing director for the North, added: “I am pleased that Bridgewater and Mersey Care will now take forward a plan for more joined-up NHS care.”

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