NHCP’s Integrated Care Across Northamptonshire (iCAN) programme is working to deliver a refreshed local focus on improving the quality of care and achieving the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for older people in our county.

Over the last few months the iCAN programme has been in its assessment phase. This has involved working to understand the opportunities available across Northamptonshire’s health and care services to improve outcomes for older people so we can prioritise the things that will have the biggest positive impact.

In that time the programme has spoken to over 300 members of staff, reviewed the next steps for patients in 720 hospital beds, held case reviews looking at over 130 real cases, and analysed over a million lines of data. This has enabled us to build a picture that not only represents the reality of what staff and patients experience, but also helps us prioritise where to focus.

The iCAN assessment phase is now finished, and overall it has found that we could support more people to remain well in their homes, rather than needing to come to hospital. It has helped us to identify the following key opportunities:

• We could reduce the number of patients whose health reaches crisis point by helping them access the right care and support in the community
• For those who do reach crisis, we can ensure more are able to access the right alternative services in the community so they don’t need to visit the emergency department (ED)
• For those who do need to go to ED, we can reduce the chance they will need to be admitted to hospital by ensuring the right services are in place, known about and accessible in the community
• For those who do need a hospital admission, we can reduce the amount of time they have to spend in hospital – and ensure they’re supported to maximise their long-term independence

Having identified these opportunities, the iCAN programme now wants to focus on the action that’s needed to deliver them across our health and care services.

Working together in partnership, iCAN aims to ensure that, by 2025, everyone can be sure that the right choices are available to them; the right services are there to help them look after their own health; illness is detected, diagnosed and treated as early as possible; and everyone can access the right care, treatment and support in the right place at the right time.

Our community will be supported to choose well, stay well and live well.

What happens next?

The Boards of NHS Northamptonshire CCG and our county’s NHS trusts have met and agreed to support the delivery of the iCAN programme. Although we anticipate this can partly be achieved through the use of local skills and resources, there will also be a requirement for additional external support, for which a formal tendering process will need to be undertaken. In the meantime, iCAN will continue with dedicated teams to design and develop specific service projects, build on the progress already made and work with colleagues across our health and care system to deliver integrated care to improve outcomes for older people.

iCAN programme leads Joanna Fawcus, chief operating officer of Kettering General Hospital, and Sandra Mellors, deputy chief executive of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is already lots of fantastic work going on across Northamptonshire to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes for older people – but the iCAN assessment phase has helped us to understand the opportunities we have to build on this by working together in partnership. Now the hard work really begins for the iCAN programme as we develop ways to turn those opportunities into actions and deliver genuine positive change for the people of our county.”