Plans to improve health care in West Norfolk have been given a boost after winning national recognition.
West Norfolk Alliance, which brings together the area’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other NHS Trusts has been granted “pioneer status” from the department of health.
The news was announced by health minister Norman Lamb earlier this week.
This new status does not bring any further funding for health services in the area but allows the commissioning group to seek advice from other specialist bodies.
The alliance aims to improve services with greater co-ordination. The plans draw together clinical, technological and operational initiatives.
Successful innovations include using a telemedicine triage in care homes and establishing a frailty unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Another initiative being used by in the programme is the creation of a virtual ward in which medically fit patients are discharged from hospital and treated at home by a team of nurses and health care assistants.
The CCG says further integration of services and care closer to home will ease current winter pressures which are creating problems for the area.
The group’s chief officer Dr Sue Crossman said: “We are delighted that our bid for pioneer status has been successful. We have already made significant progress with a number of innovations and pilot schemes which all aim to improve the outcome for patients.
“We want to support older people to stay well in the community and break down barriers to people receiving comprehensive and well co-ordinated health and social care.
“Being granted formal pioneer status means we can continue to contribute to this important and exciting work, creating long term solutions for the health and social care status.”
Health minister Mr Lamb said: “I am delighted West Norfolk has been chosen to be an integrated care pioneer. Through the original pioneers, we have already seen the difference joining up health and care can have in reducing unnecessary emergency admissions and helping people to live independently for longer.”