The Care Quality Commission has published the findings of a report looking at how well health and social care systems in Liverpool are working together to care for people aged 65 and older.
The review, carried out in February, included interviews with those involved in leading and shaping services, reviewed care and treatment records and visited 14 services in the area.
Liverpool is one of 20 areas to be inspected, focusing on how services meet people’s needs and how care providers work together.
Although there is no overall grading, the CQC found that there is a clear strategic direction for services, with a commitment to work with wider partners and evidence of strong collaborative working in some parts of the city.
Efforts to cut the bureaucracy in getting people out of hospital had led to some improvements in delayed transfers of care.
They also noted that partners had learned how to build resilience for services at times when there is most demand for services, such as over winter, but that more work is required to reduce the pressure on A&E.
Staff were found to be committed, energetic and passionate about delivering high quality care but some felt the health and social care landscape was overly complex and more sharing of records was needed to provide truly integrated care.
The review team concluded that experiences for people receiving services varied, while support services such as the Carers Centre were described as a lifeline by users, and some specific projects were doing excellent work to prevent social isolation.
A review of case files showed people were receiving person-centred support and care with a focus on maintaining their independence, although that was not the experience for everyone.
Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “We very much welcome this report, which is a fair assessment of where we are at, particularly in the context of transforming the health and social care system to deal with increased demand at a time when we are facing pressure on budgets.
“We need to do more to break down historic barriers between organisations, pool budgets, share risk and strip out duplication so that people, whenever they come into contact with the NHS and social care, get the right treatment in a timely manner.
“We will be reflecting on the recommendations and building them into our ambitious plans to improve health outcomes for the people of our city.”
Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Dr Simon Bowers said: “We are pleased with the overall findings of this report, which highlight how we have already made significant inroads into transforming health and social care services in Liverpool by working smarter, and in closer partnership between organisations, in order to reduce duplication and provide a more a seamless service for patients.
“The challenge now is to deliver these improvements on a larger scale and at a greater pace, in order to ensure that everyone receives the same high quality, person-centred care wherever they are treated or cared for in the city.”
The CQC’s recommendations include:
• Transforming the strategic vision for the city into an operational plan which is system wide
• Strengthening relationships to ensure effective partnership working
• Developing a comprehensive public engagement strategy
• Strengthening system-level governance arrangements to address performance and quality issues
• Support more people to access personal budgets and direct payments
• Improve information flows between services