Adult social care needs to be 'more integrated' when unitary takes over control in Northampton

The committee has been looking into adult social care in Northampton
The committee has been looking into adult social care in Northampton

A report has recommended that health services for adult social care in Northamptonshire needs to be more ‘integrated’ when the new unitary authorities are created in 2021.

Tackling loneliness and giving greater assistance to the black and mixed ethnicity (BAME) community are also highlighted as key things to tackle in the report, which has been written up by councillors on the overview and scrutiny committee of Northampton Borough Council.

A specific task panel was set up by the council after a motion in July last year was agreed, which called on the committee to carry out an investigation into adult social care facilities in the area.

It was hoped the investigation would help identify future demand patterns so that the new West Northamptonshire Council is able to better plan for the needs of older people in the future.

And knitting together the work that various organisations do, and improving communications, is a big theme of the report’s recommendations.

It states: “It is important that there is a holistic approach regarding integration and integrated services; integrated care is vital.

“It is important that there is one service working together to deliver the same outcomes. It was recognised that there is not a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub in existence for adults, as there is for children.

“A site visit to the London borough of Islington shows it has an excellent level of integration; with a close relationship with the CCG and health colleagues at both operational and commissioning level.”

The committee also recognised that adult social care services were ‘under resourced’, and that loneliness is ‘arguably the most significant issue that needs to be dealt with’.

They additionally suggest that a housing officer is linked to Northampton General Hospital, a similar arrangement to a pilot currently taking place in Kettering.

Assistance to the BAME community also emerged as a key them at the final meeting of the committee, which took place at The Guildhall on Monday evening (May 20).

Councillor Zoe Smith, chair of the panel, said: “I’m wondering if a survey should be conducted of the BAME community to see what they think the barriers are to accessing services.”

It will be included in a list of recommendations that will be submitted to the borough council’s cabinet, and shared with the district councils in Daventry and South Northamptonshire which will merge with the borough in 2021.

The borough councillors lamented the lack of participation from county councillors however, with the county the authority in charge of overseeing adult social care.

Councillor Jamie Lane said: “There were no standalone county councillors who came along. All of them were dual hatters who were also on the borough. That was disappointing.”