Innovative Hertfordshire health and social care service picks up top award

Posted: March 18 2016

A Hertfordshire scheme which helps keep people out of hospital has won a prestigious award.

Innovative Hertfordshire health and social care service picks up top award

HomeFirst scooped the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) award for Health and Social Care, with the judging panel praising the way that all the organisations involved in delivering the scheme are making a real difference to those receiving support.

The scheme was launched in 2012 and is joint project between Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs and Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust.

The HomeFirst team cares for people living with long term conditions as well as supporting those who have been discharged from hospital having been seriously ill. It also offers a ‘rapid response’ service if someone’s health deteriorates suddenly. Teams include nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and care staff. Evidence shows that HomeFirst teams have had a positive impact of reducing emergency admissions in the localities that they serve.

The LGC Awards, celebrating their 20th anniversary, are run by a leading local authority magazine and recognise and celebrate the best and most innovative work of local government. They are one of the most prestigious events in the local government calendar.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council said:

“This is great news and highlights the impact that HomeFirst makes to people’s lives, bringing health and social care together and shaping services around people’s needs to help them stay independent. We want to enable older people and vulnerable adults to live independently for as long as possible which is not only often what they want, it also saves money from the public purse. We’re doing this by working in partnership with the NHS and finding better and more cost effective ways of doing things.”

Julie Hoare, Director of Operations at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, said:

“This is fantastic recognition for all the team members that have been involved from the beginning in designing, developing and delivering this integrated service. Together they are making a real difference to the local people in Hertfordshire, enabling them to maintain their health and wellbeing and stay at home for their care. We are very proud of them all.”

Dr Alison Jackson is a Cheshunt GP who has supported the development of HomeFirst from the start. She said:

“HomeFirst has enabled GPs to work differently and more proactively – as part of a wider team of professionals we are helping our patients to have the best possible quality of life. Together we are able to offer patients more individualised care that meets their complex needs in their place of choice, their homes. My GP colleagues and I really value working with the HomeFirst team and now we can’t imagine working without them.”

Further joint working between health and social care teams in Hertfordshire is set to continue through the Better Care Fund. The county council and the NHS in Hertfordshire have pooled more than £580 million, one of the largest in the country, to deliver a programme of schemes to help prevent people going into hospital and to promote their independence.

For more information on HomeFirst, click here.

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk