An innovative and ambitious new partnership, seeking to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of everyone in Newcastle and transform the provision of health and social care in the City, has today (17 December) been formally agreed.
Collaborative Newcastle is an alliance between Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Gateshead NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, working closely with Newcastle GP Services, the GP Federation for Newcastle, Primary Care Networks and the voluntary sector.
The scope of the partnership is amongst the first of its kind in the country and is underpinned by a groundbreaking legal agreement between the four key health and social care organisations in the City.
The agreement, which sets out a formal co-governance structure, accelerates progress towards a fully integrated health and social care system, enabling the partners to effect significant change for residents. Their aim is to reduce widening inequalities, by preventing avoidable problems from arising and tackling the big things that hold some people back.
The legal agreement has now been signed off by each organisation’s independent Board, as well as by Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet. Newcastle City Futures Board – previously the City’s Wellbeing for Life Board – meets this afternoon and will formally endorse Collaborative Newcastle’s ambitious plans.
Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “We’re delighted that Collaborative Newcastle has the full backing of the City Futures Board. For the past two years, we have been working together behind the scenes to develop this radical new approach. Our focus is on individual wellbeing and early prevention, rather than simply working within the constraints of established, and often inflexible and reactive, traditional services.
“Collaborative Newcastle puts Newcastle residents front and centre. We want to work with local people to provide a joined-up and seamless system of care, support, advice and treatment for all – including children, families, adults and the elderly. By working together in this way, we can reduce inequality and provide better life opportunities for everyone in our City – which will be more critical than ever in the coming months and years as we recover from the impact of Covid-19.”
Collaborative Newcastle partners have been working closely at the heart of the City’s Covid response in recent months – including development and delivery of the new Integrated Covid Hub North East – but work to establish the partnership and initiate a number of joint projects got underway over 12 months earlier.
Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive at Newcastle City Council, said: “Throughout this pandemic, organisations have come together to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities and have set out a roadmap to enable our City to recover. All of this work has been built on the strength of our partnerships.
“Work to integrate our health and social care services and to work collaboratively to eliminate social inequalities was underway well before the pandemic and allowed us to move agilely in our battle against the virus.
“Working in partnership with organisations to make better use of our collective resources will ensure all our residents live healthy, fulfilling lives and achieve their potential.”
John Lawlor, Chief Executive at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Collaborative Newcastle is a commitment from all health and care organisations across the City to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of the people and local communities of Newcastle.
The agreement will enable us to bring together our resources to address the underlying causes of inequalities across the City. It is an ambitious collaboration that, working with the City Futures Board, seeks to create a healthy, highly-skilled and economically vibrant Newcastle.”
Mark Adams, Chief Officer at NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The pandemic has shown the immense strength of our City with all partner organisations pulling together and working as one. Supporting our most vulnerable citizens through quick decision making and rapid responses while keeping our staff safe, our partnership is far more than the sum of its parts.
“The start of Collaborative Newcastle now takes this to a new level, coming together more closely than ever to improve health and change lives.”
Christian Townend RRC, Chief Executive of Newcastle GP Services, the GP Federation of Newcastle, said: “We know how important Collaborative Newcastle is and welcome the opportunity for GP practices and Primary Care Networks to be part of this important team.
“We’re passionate in our belief that it is only by working together across organisational boundaries that we can create the right conditions for everyone to work together for the good of the people of Newcastle. What binds everyone together is our collective sense of the duty of care and compassion for our City, and the efforts of everyone during the Covid response has only served to demonstrate just how well we work as a team.”
Brendan Hill, Chair of Blue Stone Consortium and providing a voluntary and community sector perspective for Collaborative Newcastle, said: “Collaborative Newcastle will help us build better support around individuals and communities by working together. It’s great to see that our statutory partners understand that to make the most of this approach we must include the Voluntary and Community sector who provide a wide range of services and support and play such an integral role in the health and wellbeing of the people we serve.”
Collaborative Newcastle partners are working on a wide range of projects which will improve the way in which health and social care is delivered and accessed in the City; examples include:
• Integrated Covid Hub North East
Led by Collaborative Newcastle, the region secured the funds to develop the Integrated Covid Hub North East (ICHNE). ICHNE will transform test and trace capabilities for the region, is creating 1,000 new jobs and will lead the way in Covid science and research at a national level – via a specialist innovation lab.
• Supporting care homes during Covid-19
Partners quickly came together at the start of the global pandemic to provide staff and residents in care homes in the City with invaluable, ongoing support. This work has included outbreak control training, help with accessing PPE and daily calls providing advice, practical updates and best practice guidance. In addition, nursing support teams were expanded to provide holistic wraparound support and treatment in situ for residents’ mental and physical health needs.
• Newcastle Children and Families
This project is creatively re-designing a better integrated approach to early intervention and prevention for families facing challenges in the City. Central to this approach, the project team is planning to build on the strong community support available to children, young people and their families by developing plans for community hubs, joined up services and a single ‘go to’ contact for families who will connect them with the support required.
• Social prescribing at scale
Plans are in development to dramatically increase the scale and scope of social prescribing across the City. Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional and practical needs by connecting them with local sources of support which will help to improve both mental health and physical wellbeing. Collaborative Newcastle is aiming to increase the visibility, availability and accessibility of social prescribing and its benefits.
• Positive Mental Health
Collaborative Newcastle partners are working together to design new ways of delivering mental health support, built around local communities, to enable simpler, more open access to support when it is needed. This work will be co-designed and developed with local communities, starting from next year. As we see the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of our residents and communities, the partners are looking to respond actively and collectively to ensure Newcastle is a City where positive mental health really matters.
• Joint System Leadership Training
A joint system leadership training programme has been established across the health and social care organisations and is both delivered and undertaken by staff from all of the organisations involved. The programme is designed to provide professional development, build stronger working relationships, better understanding and embed closer joint working for the future.
• Central Command Centre
A central command centre has been set up at Regent’s Point, providing a space for health and social care operational teams to co-locate and a hub for staff to hot-desk and meet – facilitating closer joint working on a daily basis. The Command Centre has continued to operate virtually through Covid-19. In addition, a new digital dashboard has been created, displaying a wealth of real-time health and social care data from across the City to inform more effective joint decision-making.
Following on from this groundbreaking alliance agreement, other partners in the City are making their own commitment to improving the health, wealth and wellbeing of everyone in Newcastle.
Developing alongside the focus on health and social care is the work of partners, including the City’s universities and private sector, to drive sustainable growth and prosperity. Having mapped the City’s current key challenges and identified relevant indicators (framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), City partners are developing joint plans to address these challenges and drive growth through innovation, with a focus on shared economic priorities.
Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Northumbria University, said: “Given the challenges facing our area as a result of Covid-19, it has never been more important that we work together to create a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient City, with health and social care at its heart. The initiatives within this collaboration will directly support the vision for the future, and Northumbria will continue to play a leading role in its delivery – both through our world-class research into health and social care, and through the contribution we make as a university to our local communities and the regional economy.”
Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, said:
“Working with our partners we are committed to supporting the health, wealth and wellbeing of the City and the wider region. Having spent my life working in and with the NHS, I know how important it is that our health and social care providers work together to provide the best possible outcomes for our local community. Covid-19 has brought this into sharp focus and as a university we are playing our part through our graduates, and our researchers who are leading innovations and educating students who will play key roles in the future.”
To find out more about Collaborative Newcastle, visit: www.CollaborativeNewcastle.org.