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By Debbie le Quesne

Prevention Matters model gets my vote

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The old saying “prevention is better than cure” has a ring of truth, but the application of that wisdom is critical for the wellbeing of our elderly.

The adage not only applies to our seniors living healthier and fulfilled lives, but also to – and probably more importantly – to cost. If can keep our elderly independent that’s not only a great ethos, but also avoids costly crisis situations.

In the care and support of vulnerable adults, the evidence has been building for decades that taking measures to keep them healthy pays big dividends in the long term.

The Care Bill seeks to implement new models of working that allow this to happen.

Using some of the funding from the grant transferred from the NHS to local authorities to help social care budgets, Buckinghamshire County Council has created a Prevention Matters programme.

Launched last month, it has brought together the county council, the health service, the district councils and the voluntary sector in a joined-up approach to catch vulnerable adults in need before personal health or social problems become critical.

This is a great idea and an ideal that needs rolling out nationally.

Health secretary Andy Burnham accepts that research evidence presents a powerful and persuasive argument for making prevention a priority in social care services.

The figures show that for every pound spent on preventative social care, the NHS in providing emergency beds saves £1.20.

The mechanics of the Buckinghamshire model uses GP surgeries as the primary referral point. A network of community practice workers managed through specialist voluntary sector organisations work directly with the clients to assess needs, develop support action and assist the client in making it work.

Simultaneously, a team of community links officers is tasked with identifying, enhancing and informal community-based services and social opportunities.

I can see this being rolled out as a template after all of the audit work has been completed.

In the meantime, Buckinghamshire seems a good place to be if you’re elderly.

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