We are all familiar with the idea of a neighbourhood. Your neighbourhood is your local area or your local community. It is the place you live. Within your neighbourhood you might use a park, a café, your local shops, go to school, visit friends and other activities. Your neighbourhood is probably where you spend the majority of your time.
We like the principle of neighbourhoods – where everything you need and use is relatively close by.
We are thinking along these lines to re-organise localised health and social care services. This doesn’t mean building new GP practices, hospitals or other centres. It’s about taking a good look at everything we have already and organising how services are delivered in a joined-up way.
Our intention is to join up health, social care and wellbeing services around 9 to 12 ‘neighbourhoods’.
How each neighbourhood will work
Each neighbourhood will be slightly different. But we would expect each neighbourhood to have a set of services which are common to all.
This might include:
- groups of GP practices working more closely together, sharing ideas, facilities and amenities
- community nurses working in small teams to visit people on foot, which means they can spend more time with patients and connecting them with other services nearby – for example, befriending services to address loneliness or light exercise classes to improve mobility
- home care support linked closely to these community nursing teams
- other community services that offer things for people to stay health and improve wellbeing – these will be captured in one place so people can find out about them, and access them
Other services, particularly specialist teams, will continue to work on a borough basis, but adopting the same principles of a whole-person, collaborative, health and wellbeing approach.
Benefits for all
As well as working in a more joined up way, we believe that organising health and care around neighbourhoods helps staff and local people to understand the health and wellbeing needs of their community. It will also lead to an increased focus on keeping people well and making sure everyone gets equal access to the health and care services they need.
We know that a lot of different factors in the daily lives of people in Lambeth affect their health and wellbeing and health, care and community and voluntary sector organisations closely working together within a neighbourhood are better placed to address these challenges.