Integrated Care in Action Week

Posted: 12/03/20

Integrated Care in Action week is taking place from 9-15 March 2020. It is an opportunity to show what amazing things can happen when health, social care and other organisations work together to improve everyone’s care.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) is a provider of mental health and disability services in the North of England, and we are a proud member of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, or ICS.

The ICS is not a new or separate organisation; local NHS Trusts, Councils, commissioners, charities, and any other organisations across north Cumbria and the North East are all working together to form the ICS.

There are lots of benefits to us working in this way across the whole region – we can avoid duplicating work and be more efficient, share knowledge and skills, and ensure a consistent approach in important areas like suicide prevention. All of this leads to improvements for the overall health and wellbeing of our population.

It’s particularly important to work together when it comes to mental health, and the ICS has set out an ambitious plan for service transformations to make sure this happens. People with complex mental health conditions die on average 15-20 years earlier than the rest of the population. It is vital to ensure people with serious mental illness have access to, and experience, good physical health care.

It is equally important to ensure that people with physical health issues have access to appropriate, timely support to address any mental health and well-being needs. We really believe that there is ‘no health without mental health’.

Working alongside the ICS’s Suicide Prevention Network has been extremely useful for us in expanding our mental health campaign into areas of the North East which we would otherwise have struggled to access. It has also been hugely beneficial to sit around a table with other providers and mental health experts, who are based within our community, so that we can signpost our participants to professional help which we know is reputable.

Oliver BellHealth and Wellbeing Manager at Newcastle United Foundation
The ICS in numbers
The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System is one of the largest in the country:
• Covers a population of 3.1 million
• Includes 180,000 staff across health and care organisations
• It is made up of 13 NHS Trusts, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups, 73 Primary Care Networks, 14 Local Authorities, and dozens of independent and voluntary sector organisations

The joint working arrangements we have progressed as an Integrated Care System have enabled us to generate close working relationships with NHS mental health service providers. This relationship has helped us to progress a number of innovations that will positively impact on the wellbeing of our students and staff.

Sally IngramDirector of Student Health and Wellbeing at Newcastle University

The work done so far by the ICS shows what can be achieved when we work together. In recent years, we have:

• Set up Dementia Friendly GP practices and Dementia Friendly Pharmacies;
• Provided self-harm and suicide prevention training across the region, including sessions aimed at the media the encourage responsible reporting of suicide and self-harm;
• Secured funding for ‘trailblazer’ pilots of mental health support teams in several schools across the region;
• Ensured that there are mental health professionals working in the area’s ambulance control rooms;
• Rolled out specialist Institute for Health Visitors training which will give staff in maternity services awareness of ‘red flag’ signs of poor mental health in new parents, as well as ensuring they know how to ensure that women get appropriate referral when they need mental health care.

For more information about the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System visit
Join in the conversation on Twitter using #integratedcare, or on LinkedIn to share your best practice and learn from integrated care systems across the country.