Extension to Shared Lives scheme

Date: 19 Oct 2016

Category: Updates

Vulnerable adults and young adults in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are to benefit from a pioneering family-based care scheme that will help more people receive health care at home, rather than in hospital.

The NHS and local authorities in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are to work together to extend the three well-established Shared Lives schemes currently running in the area to include people receiving healthcare, thanks to a £140,000 investment to be announced by NHS England today (19 October).

Shared Lives works by helping people who need support or accommodation, to move in with or regularly visit an approved carer. Today’s funding award – which will be match-funded by local NHS and local authorities -- will allow the scheme to be extended locally to include people receiving healthcare, with a particular focus on adults with dementia and young adults (typically aged 18-plus) with learning disabilities and mental health needs.

These patient groups often spend longer in hospital-based care due to the challenges of finding appropriate community accommodation. It is hoped that by providing new opportunities for community-based care, patients will benefit from shorter hospital stays, improved discharge times and fewer unplanned hospital admissions with benefits for both patients and the wider NHS.

Alex Fox, CEO of Shared Lives Plus said: “We are delighted to be working with health organisations and their partners in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to bring Shared Lives to many more people. In the future, this could enable health services to offer community-based alternatives to traditional health provision much more widely.

“By partnering with NHS England we are able to build on the fantastic foundations laid by the 150 existing schemes which provide regulated social care. People living in Shared Lives households or visiting them regularly for short breaks say that they live happier, healthier lives. Councils also save significant sums and this initiative will bring these savings to the NHS for the first time.”

The funding application was co-ordinated by South Gloucestershire CCG on behalf of Bristol and North Somerset CCGs and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils.

Guy Stenson, Director of Partnerships & Integration at South Gloucestershire CCG said: “Shared Lives has long been established in social care provision in each of the three local authorities but it is less commonly used as a health care intervention.

“Today’s funding award will help us to remedy this by extending the scheme and its benefits to local NHS patients and in the process support the drive to move care out of hospitals and into the community.”

The investment together with match funding from the local NHS will fund the appointment of two new co-ordinators who will work collaboratively alongside the three established council Shared Lives schemes to help recruit and support an increased number of new carers locally

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire were among six areas to successfully bid for funding from NHS England as part of a national pilot scheme to develop the use of Shared Lives as a health care intervention.

The winning bids will be announced at the House of Commons today (19 October) alongside MPs and other key figures, as Shared Lives Plus celebrates Shared Lives week 2016.

You can also join in and follow in Twitter using #SharedLivesTogether.