Exploring One Devon’s five-year integrated care strategy

In December 2022, One Devon released their finalised integrated care strategy which lays out the ICS’s vision for the next five years.

The strategy begins by acknowledging the many factors that affect our health, such as education, work opportunities, housing and recreational facilities, before sharing some of the key challenges facing population health in this region.

The challenges include an ageing population with rapid growth, exceeding the national average and including a disproportionately small population of working age people; wide-spread deprivation; decreased access to services for ethnic groups and those living in more isolated areas; the impact of long COVID on health inequalities across vulnerable communities; a pressured workforce; and higher-than-average rate of hospital admissions for self-harming and suicide; and high demand on mental health services and emergency care.

In response to these challenges, One Devon partners will collaborate at a system-wide level through five local care partnerships in the “heart of communities.” The strategy shares the ICS’s intention to “strengthen its integrated and collaborative working arrangements to deliver better experience and outcomes for the people of Devon and greater value for money. By 2025 we will have adopted a single operating model and our integrated care system will have achieved the status of thriving.”

The strategy is comprised of four key goals which support the ICS’s vision to cultivate an equal opportunities healthcare landscape.

Improve outcomes in population health and healthcare

The document states that population health and prevention is “everybody’s responsibility” as it informs all that we do. One Devon will focus on the top five risk factors for disability and early death, with an overarching goal for 2028 to decrease the gap in healthy life expectancy by 25 percent.

In terms of acute mental health issues, the strategy states that “every suicide should be regarded as preventable” and commits to adopt a zero suicide approach to transform system-wide suicide prevention and care. The plan will set out to establish a suicide prevention plan in each local care partnership by 2023.

People in the community, including unpaid carers, will be given access to support, skills and information to enable them to act as equal partners in all aspects of their health and care.

One Devon will look to extend personalised care through social prescribing, increasing peoples knowledge of health and services and shared decision making.

The strategy also pledges to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing by 2024/25, with 100 percent coverage of 24/7 crisis teams and urgent care response; and 95 percent of young people struggling with eating disorders actively accessing specialised services within one week for urgent needs.

The strategy aims to support people to stay well at home through active, preventative and personalised care – it is hoped that by 2025, they will have reduced preventable hospital admissions by 95 percent.

Tackling inequalities in outcomes, experiences and access

In this area of the strategy, the ICS commits to providing straightforward access to the vital information and services that people need in order to live healthy lives.

By 2028, One Devon aims to have increased the number of people effectively using digital technology and improving access to dentists, pharmacy, primary care and optometry.

The ICS will offer everyone protection from preventable infections with a long-term goal to increase the numbers of child immunisations by 10% in 2028. A further 10 percent increase is expected to occur in the uptake of people eligible for COVID and flu vaccines, decreasing the number of healthcare-acquired infections.

Looking at end-of-life care, the strategy notes that by 2028 they hope to have increased the amount of people dying in their preferred place by 25 percent, and will provide advanced care planning for those who require it.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is another main focus which will see the ICS partner with a diverse range of communities to increase “equity in outcomes, access and experience.”

The strategy sets out to support and empower Devon’s workforce by delivering fully inclusive services for everyone by 2026; fostering a culture of inclusivity and warmth where diversity is both valued and celebrated. Looking further ahead, the document reads: “By 2027, Devon’s workforce will be representative of local populations and by 2028 our buildings, information and services will be fully inclusive of the needs of all our population.”

Enhancing productivity and value for money

This section highlights the importance of people being able to access the “right service first time” and navigate the health and care services they need efficiently and accurately. The ICS will work improve service productivity to ensure this is made a reality.

By 2026 it is expected that positive patient feedback will be increased, with people reporting significantly improves experiences of navigation services across Devon.

Alongside this, the strategy emphasises that people will “have to tell their story only once” in order for clinicians to have access to the information they need, when they need it through a shared digital system. One Devon hopes to have implemented a joined up, standardised Digital infrastructure by 2028.

They ICS will utilise funds to maximise economies of scale and increase cost effectiveness, with the goal of attaining a unified approach to procuring good, services and systems across sectors by 2028.

In terms of recruitment and workforce, the strategy pledges to expand and retain a high level of skilled individuals to deliver excellent health and care across Devon through an affordable deployment strategy.

They predict that by 2028, they will have some of the lowest vacancy numbers in the health and social care sector in England.

Focusing on Devon’s most vulnerable cohorts, the ICS will set out to provide “accessible, suitable, warm and dry housing” for all underserved communities.

The long-term aim for 2028 is to have decreased the number of households experiencing fuel poverty by 2 percent and reduce the admissions following an accidental fall.

Helping the NHS support broader social and economic development

Providing people with greater support and access to long-term employment is another key objective of the strategy.

This section outlines the projected achievements by 2028 following the implementation of the ICS’s goals. By this time, they plan to have reduced by five percent the gap between the overall employment rate and those with physical or mental long-term conditions, and those having long-term support for a learning disability. In addition, they aim to decrease the number of 16-17 year olds not in education, employment or training by 25 percent.

One Devon commits to create a “green and more environmentally sustainable health and care system” which supports healthier living and actively tackle climate change. It is predicted that by 2028 they will be on track to deliver the agreed targets for all local authorities in Devon to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Community groups will be “empowered and support to be more resilient” with the ICS recognising them as equal partners in supporting the overall health and wellbeing of local people.

Local care partnerships will, by 2024, have co-produced a strategy with local communities and groups to support each other and build resilience on a large scale.

Lastly, the ICS will develop economic and sustainable local and country wide businesses, voluntary sector groups and education providers – aiming to direct a collective buying power to “invest in and build for the linger term in local communities and businesses” by 2028.

The Joint Forward Plan is expected to be published in June 2023 which will further extrapolate the targeted themes covered in this article.

For more information on One Devon’s integrated care strategy, please click here.