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Cash boost will see improvements made to integrate care services

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 09, 2014

Stafford Borough council new development.Mike Heenan, Philip Atkins

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EFFORTS to improve care for people in East Staffordshire could see major inroads made to boost mental health provision.

Bosses at Staffordshire County Council revealed they were working with East Staffordshire Borough Council, the NHS in the area and other partners to try to deliver more integrated care in the community in the town.

The authority spoke out after details of the national £3.8 billion Better Care Fund emerged, foreshadowing a greater pooling of resources for more care in the community and less in hospitals from 2015.

The news may come as respite for some after the Mail revealed earlier this week that the closure of the town’s inpatient mental health unit, the Margaret Stanhope Centre, had led to 20 per cent of all policing matters linked to mental health problems.

Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, warned that everyone involved must work together in the interest of residents in the town.

He said: “The pooling of budgets with partners through the Better Care Fund offers an unparalleled opportunity to build on the progress counties like Staffordshire have already made in focusing on prevention, early intervention and integrated care in the community.

“In Staffordshire, more than anywhere else, we have learned from the Francis Report that it is people who must be at the heart of the transformation of how and where we deliver care.

“The move to more integrated health and social care is gathering pace and nothing can be allowed to stand in its way.

“Everyone involved in care must work together, get the maximum benefit from the public sector purse to deliver a health and social care system which is both safe and sustainable for an increasingly ageing population.”

Staffordshire County Council has submitted its plan for the Better Care Fund to the NHS, which would unlock a minimum pooled budget of £56 million to help boost care in the area.

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