Bringing community NHS and social care services together in Wigan

Community based NHS staff and local authority social workers are working together as part of a new, single team in Wigan to improve care and support for local patients.

The Wigan Integrated Community Nursing and Therapy (ICNT) service launched on October 1st and brings together NHS and local authority health and adult social care staff to provide support to patients across the local community. It will make it easier to coordinate care and services for patients, treating them at home or in community clinics, keeping them well and reducing the need for hospital care.

Wigan based Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working with Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Wigan Council and 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the new look service.

The services that the team are now providing include district nursing, podiatry, dietetics, community matrons, advanced nurse practitioners, occupational therapy, continence support, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. They are physically working alongside adult social care teams in three hubs in the communities of Ashton, Wigan and Leigh to improve coordination and cross working. There will also be a doctor working with the team to provide additional medical support in the community.

Patients are able to contact the team directly through one single point of access phone number. Patients being discharged after hospital care will be referred directly to the team to coordinate community care that they need.

The ICNT team will also focus on supporting patients with long-term illnesses including cellulitis, COPD, cardiac problems and UTIs to provide rapid intervention, preventing patients with these conditions needing to be admitted to hospital.

“This is great news for local patients. We’ve designed a service that brings together staff from different professions and organisations into one integrated team”, says Cllr Keith Cunliffe, chairman of the health and wellbeing board at Wigan Council, “Their sole aim is to improve the coordination of care and services for patients who need health or social care support in the community. In addition, the team will care for those patients who need rapid intervention if an illness gets worse to prevent them needing to be admitted to hospital where possible.”

Colin Scales, chief executive at Bridgewater added, “Traditionally these teams have worked in isolation to provide services for patients, so it makes sense for us to bring them together to better coordinate care for Wigan patients. We will create efficiencies by preventing avoidable hospital admissions, and working with patients to design care packages around their specific needs.” We’ll keep you updated on progress as the ICNT model develops in Wigan!
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