Norfolk misses out on integrated care pioneer status

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A health minister spoke of his frustration after a Norfolk project won a bid to become one of the government's integrated care pioneers, but then had the status withdrawn.

A West Norfolk bid was one of 99 from across the country to apply and one of 15 successful bidders for the scheme to help integrate health and social services. However, because the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn was placed in special measures last week, the Department of Health decided not to award the area integrated care pioneer status.

Two other bids in North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth and Waveney were also unsuccessful in becoming the pioneers, which will be announced today by the government and would have received extra support to help health and social services to work more closely together.

Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP and care and support minister, announced proposals earlier this year to fully join up the health and social care system by 2018 and invited organisations to apply to become integrated care pioneers. He spoke of his frustration that West Norfolk had lost out.

'There was very clear criteria that if any area of the expressions of interest had a hospital in special measures that it would undermine the integrity of the bid and we had the announcement last week that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was put in special measures.'

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'It is very frustrating for the people involved. It is brilliant that they were one of 15 that came through an exhaustive process and it is great that people in Norfolk are leading the way in this new integrated model of care,' he said.

Mr Lamb said no politician played any part in deciding the integrated care areas, which were judged by a panel of experts including pioneers from America, Sweden and New Zealand.

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Successful pioneers will not receive any extra funding from the government. However, in 2015/16 a £3.8bn transformation fund will be set aside for NHS trusts and local authorities across the country to share to work more closely together and to help prevent needless hospital admissions.

Mr Lamb added that the three Norfolk bidders planned to carry on with integration despite the blow. He added that there was a chance that West Norfolk could become a integrated care pioneer if the Queen Elizabeth Hospital can be brought out of special measures by improving patient care and leadership.

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