Birmingham introduces integrated neighbourhood teams to improve community care

Five integrated neighbourhood teams have been set up across Birmingham as part of a new programme designed to deliver better coordinated care at a community level.

The new neighbourhood teams (NT) form part of the Neighbourhood Integration Project, which focuses on delivering preventative care closer to home. It is hoped that the teams will form a key component of Birmingham’s community integrator initiative.

The NT framework involves health and care teams from primary care, community care, social care and mental health care as well as third sector partnerships working in collaboration to improve the health of the wider community and to reduce health and social inequalities.

The teams will be based in neighbourhoods in the north, south, east, west and central areas, supporting citizens within each locale who would best benefit from a joined-up approach to care. The core teams will be assisted by other community professionals when required, such as hospices, end of life care and care homes.

The trust notes that each cohort may have varying needs in the different localities, so the national framework is to be combined with local intelligence to ensure that needs are met.

Chris Holt, Chief Operating Officer for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The integration of community health and care services continues to be promoted to help improve patient centred care, reduce costs, reduce admissions to hospital and facilitate timely and effective discharge from hospital.”

He added: “One of our key priorities in this initial pilot phase is to support the teams to work in this new inter-professional and inter-organisational collaboration approach as well as gain a deeper understanding of each other’s roles…. We will also engage with local people to shape services that meet their needs in a holistic way rather than treating specific complaints in isolation. Our Neighbourhood Integration programme is part of the government’s long -term plan to integrate community-based teams to meet the lifetime social, community, health and care needs and challenges of local citizens.”