New alliance pledges joined up health care for West Norfolk
- Credit: IAN BURT
Patients will have more control of their care and can expect to have more medical treatment at home instead of staying in hospital the new West Norfolk health alliance said as it was launched today.
Care Minister Norman Lamb visited officials from the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Norfolk County Council and other bodies this morning.
He attended a summit at the College of West Anglia, King's Lynn, where NHS and council officials set out plans to join forces to deliver improved care to the elderly and vulnerable.
Mr Lamb said that there were 'big shifts' that the alliance would be improving on. It would move the emphasis from repair to prevention, join up parts of the system which had previously worked separately and give patients more control.
Mr Lamb said: 'It's fantastic to see the proactive approach that is being taken in west Norfolk.
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'With our ageing population, there is a 4pc rise in the cost of care each year and currently there is 1.9m people in this country with chronic conditions which will rise to 3m by 2025.
'Too often our health and care system provides services that suit the needs of the health organisations, not the patients they are serving.'
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The alliance unveiled a 'virtual ward' set up by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C).
It will enable more hospital services to be provided in patients' homes.
Officials say using the new system will release up to 840 acute hospital beds each month which will alleviate pressure on emergency care.
The alliance will be working behind the scenes to improve communication and ensure the access to services is more streamlined so patients don't have to be subjected to repeat referrals.