CHANGING the face of health and social care will bring clinicians, officers and politicians together.

Work to combine Bolton’s healthcare and social care systems was given its final seal of approval yesterday by the council’s cabinet.

The variety of social and economic conditions across Bolton presents a challenge keeping people well and areas of deprivation see people living unhealthier lives.

Wirin Bhatiani, chairman of Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Thinking about when the CCG started, we had an organisation then and not everyone thought a reorganisation was necessary. But it brought officers and clinicians together, that was really important. We brought the experience of our consultation rooms to the decision making. This is bringing officers, clinicians and politicians together, we haven’t had that before.”

Council leader Cllr Linda Thomas said: “We are advocates for the people, the voice for the community. We bring along the services from the local authority, schools, care homes for the elderly, welfare support, benefits, leisure facilities, recreation facilities, swimming pools. All for a healthier Bolton.”

What is for now known as the Locality Plan, sets out the intentions of the council, the CCG and Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to work more closely together to better care for the people of Bolton.

Integrating the health and social care is aimed at keeping the people of Bolton healthier by making sure people get the right care.

One example was that someone might go to their GP with depression or anxiety but it might be caused by money worries. The GP is not the right person to help them deal with their debt but social services can provide advice and help.

It is hoped by combining health and social care patients will only have to tell their story once to professionals and their story will travel will them around the system.

Currently, teams within each organisation separately commission services for local residents such as care home places, home care and learning disability services. By working together, they will avoid duplication and fill any gaps, make effective use of skills and resources, and improve the integration of services for the borough to benefit residents.

Keeping people well in their homes longer and providing community services also has the added benefit of keeping people out of hospital and avoids patients coming to A&E unnecessarily.

Tony Oakman, chief executive of Bolton Council, said: “We would want to see care closer to the people, based around individuals and neighbourhoods but there would be times they need to go for specialist care.”

Jackie Bene, chief executive at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said in future a person might be cared for by the team for Chorley Old Road team rather than having to navigate through a variety of systems to get the care they need.

Though it is expected to take two or three years before the public see this level of change within the system.

Dr Bhatiani said: “People will start noticing the difference by the end of the year.”

£28.2 million was received from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership in 2016 to facilitate the changes and by the time the resources are pooled a budget of more than £100 million will be available to the partnership’s board.

Cllr Thomas said: “At the moment, people receiving health and social care services can often feel like the system is disjointed and they find themselves seeing a range of different professionals, and having to tell their story over and over again.

“Combining our skills and budgets is the logical thing to do and marks the start of an exciting journey for us all.”