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Approval has been given to integrate hospital and community services across south Cumbria from April 1 2018, following formal Board meetings last week.

The Boards of both Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMB) gave their approval to the full plan to integrate the services, with staff currently working for CPFT to transfer to UHMB from April.

Conversations have been held with NHS staff, and union representatives from across south Cumbria as part of a formal proposal

A key element of Better Care Together has been the creation of 12 Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) across the Morecambe Bay area – which are bringing together general practice, community, hospital services, Local Authorities and the third sector. The ICCs will provide local clinical input to the community services – ensuring that the public is provided with a more seamless service between their home and ultimately the hospital.

CPFT Chief Executive Stephen Eames said: “In south Cumbria we have been working closely with our Bay Health and Care Partners to develop what healthcare in Morecambe Bay will look like in the future.

“As a health and care system, we want to work in a much more integrated and ‘joined up’ way to improve patient care and experience. This has always been the ambition of our Better Care Together strategy.

“It therefore makes sense to work in a more integrated way across hospital and community care, reducing duplication and allowing the services to offer more consistent care across the whole of Morecambe Bay.”

UHMB Chief Executive Jackie Daniel said: “This is a move which begins to make a reality of our vision of one NHS working for the public of Morecambe Bay.

“We will continue talking to staff across the health and care services to discuss this further in the run-up to April 1, and want to make the process as smooth as possible, without disrupting the services to patients.

“Staff will retain their full terms and conditions when they integrate and we will ensure that they have a full opportunity to discuss plans on how services may develop in the future with their colleagues across the health system.

“We want to include staff, unions and governors at all times during this process – and ensure they have the opportunity to influence how the integration takes place.”

Talks have now begun with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – who currently provide adult community services in north Lancashire – on the integration of those services in the future.

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