Northumberland County Council extends partnerships with NHS groups

Councillors have agreed to extend the local authority’s formal partnerships with the two key NHS organisations operating in Northumberland.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 12:50 pm
NHS logo. File image from PA
NHS logo. File image from PA

At a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday December 10, members agreed to extend the council’s partnership agreement with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals and community health services in the county, for a further year from April 1, 2020, and to renew the partnership agreement with Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which buys and commissions healthcare, from the same date.

The latter will be an open-ended agreement which either party can terminate on six months’ notice, with the report explaining that due to a number of national proposals and developments, ‘it is uncertain whether Northumberland CCG will continue to exist in its present form beyond 2020-21’.

The report also sets out that a full review of the partnership arrangement with Northumbria Healthcare is to take place, to be completed by autumn 2020, again relating to potential changes in the NHS.

‘If, as seems possible, community health services come to be managed largely through primary care networks (groups of GP practices), there may be reasons to review the best organisational framework for the integration of social care with health services in the community,’ it says.

Nonetheless, the cabinet also agreed to ‘confirm the council’s continuing commitment to integrated working with local NHS bodies, particularly in adult social care and public health’, while members were told that discussions are also taking place about closer integration with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental-health services.

Council leader Peter Jackson said that when he meets other leaders of local authorities, they are ‘all just so jealous of the partnership arrangements we have in this county’.

“It amazes me that other parts of the country haven’t caught up to how effective it is in supporting the services that people need and how efficient it is,” he added. “It’s something I think we should build on, it’s a real success for Northumberland.”