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CIH Cymru – In search of joint working

Catherine May previews upcoming research on how health, housing and social care are working together in Wales.

The Tyfu Tai Cymru project has partnered with the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) to find examples of services that have been designed and delivered jointly between health, housing and social care.

We have been visiting projects across Wales which have led to people being able to stay in their own homes by avoiding hospital stays, having better access to specialist housing support and being able to access health and housing support in one area. By talking to people delivering these services we are seeking to understand what has made them successful and how we can build a national model for successful collaboration between different sectors.

Our report will be published in the Autumn and will set out the factors that support closer collaboration (including integration of services and less formal structures). We want to inform the development of service delivery structures within each sector by sharing the good practice and foster an environment that is enthusiastic about collaboration underpinned by high quality evidence and information. We are still in the writing up stage of the report so have lots to thinking still to do but we are able to share some initial reflections.

Firstly, none of this is rocket science. People, organisations and communities have been working together to deliver benefits to people’s lives for a very long time. Many of the people who work in housing, health and social care sectors understand why they need to work together to ensure that peoples homes are healthy, and that people can access good healthcare no matter where they live (including people who are homeless). Despite this, we are still not doing it enough – there are some fantastic projects but access to these services is still too dependent on postcodes and local resources.

Some examples of the projects we are learning from have been the development of health and housing hubs which act as one-stop shops for people to access a range of services and therefore alleviating the pressure on GPs. We have met with services which go to where people are (in particular for people living on our streets or in very temporary accommodation).

The issue of delayed discharge from hospitals has been addressed by several projects who work to ensure people have somewhere safe to go to that will help them can stay away from hospital for as long as possible? We have spoken to projects which focus on how to keep people and services in their local area, addressing the issue of people being sent far from home.

Lastly, the role of regional and national formal and informal collaborations which bring structure, support and credibility.

We will bring together the key factors that have made these projects deliver success and look to how we can replicate this so people benefit across Wales.

Catherine May is manager of Tyfu Tai Cymru

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