Award for innovative programme to better join up health and care in Essex

ECC and partners received the Care and Integration Award at the MJ Awards on Friday. Picture credit - The MJ

An innovative programme led by us and our NHS partners across Essex to improve outcomes for older residents across the county has won national recognition.

The Connect programme was initiated to better join up the health and care system in Essex and transform care for older adults, ensuring they get the best care in the best setting.

The ambitious programme was jointly designed, led and governed with NHS partners across the county, creating a more integrated way of working across the system.

Connect identified five key areas where outcomes could be improved. These are the avoidance of admissions to hospital, improving hospital discharge outcomes, reducing length of stay in community hospitals, improving the effectiveness of reablement services to reduce ongoing care needs, and supporting more older people to live independently.

By being better connected as a health and care system, the aim has been to transform the experience for people, carers, and staff.

Changes have been locally driven and co-designed with frontline teams. Although the programme is still being delivered, the benefits are being seen across Essex.

These include 2,200 people per year getting better more independent outcomes, 4,650 people each year benefitting from the Urgent Community Response Team to avoid hospital admissions and one in five people previously discharged into an out-of-hospital bed, now going home instead.

It is estimated the programme is saving more than £26 million per year across the system.

Judges of the MJ Awards described the programme as “ambitious”, “well executed” and “carefully developed” and praised it for withstanding the additional pressure of Covid to “deliver clear and lasting benefits” to residents in Essex.

The MJ Awards winners were announced at a ceremony in London hosted by journalist and presenter Clive Myrie on Friday (24 June).

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “The Essex Connect programme is now recognised as a role model for the whole of the country. This award is recognition of how our innovative approach to health and social care is bringing proven benefits to our residents across Essex.

“The Connect programme continues to be delivered but we’ve already seen it improve outcomes for thousands of the county’s residents. This is particularly impressive given the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on its delivery.

“In addition to the improved outcomes we have achieved for our residents, and the welcome financial benefits we have seen, we have proved that we are stronger together as a system rather than as individual organisations.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in the programme, from ECC and care staff to all of our partners across the NHS.

“I often say it is a privilege to serve as Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care and I am particularly proud when I see the council receive the highest possible recognition for our work improving the lives of our residents.”

Find out more about the Connect programme by watching this video.