A document setting out a vision for providing integrated health and social care services to people in the Isle of Man was made public in September 2018. The vision and a substantial body of work related to it, is a key aspect of the DHSC five-year strategy, approved unanimously by Tynwald in October 2015. A key goal is ‘to help people stay well in their own homes and communities, avoiding hospital or residential care whenever possible’.
The Island’s culture and population size makes it an ideal location for this approach to flourish and a project to test and refine the principles in the Vision is underway in the west of the Island.
The pilot is bringing together various providers, including health and social care professionals and voluntary groups, in a dedicated local initiative. This means a range of needs can be met via a single point of contact, offering a smoother path through the system for those who need care.
The Vision document shows how integrated care works in communities, based on experience elsewhere. It is not a strategy or an action plan. Integrated care systems are being adopted across the UK and around the world. This approach is widely accepted as best for the individual, in offering joined-up, wrap-around services; and for health providers, as its aim is to reduce demand for costly, hospital-centred services.
Minister for the Department of Health and Social Care David Ashford said:
’The Public Accounts Committee made much of the similarities between our Vision document and that produced by the Healthier Wigan Partnership, an innovative form of joint working between the local authority and NHS that started in 2014. In describing what we want integrated care in the Isle of Man to look like, we were bound to look at examples elsewhere, some of which have been underway for several years. We considered how well they were progressing and settled on one to guide us.
‘‘The Wigan document offers a useful high-level summary of what integrated care is all about. That part we have used. However, much of the content is unique to the Isle of Man, and this includes sections covering the intermediate care model at Ramsey Cottage Hospital, our strategy for mental health and young people, input from Public Health, demographic data and a section written by our third sector partners.
‘Many of the integrated care plans in England are similar to each other. Wigan set out well what place-based, integrated care should feel like to citizens, and that is the purpose of the document, there and here. In dwelling on our use of the Wigan integrated health and care strategy, the Committee spent less time taking evidence about the Vision itself. In my view, the document is far less important than what happens in practice: and the pilot in the west is testament to things happening here and now.’