Plymouth health and social care leaders working well together for the benefit of residents


A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed that there is strength in the leadership and a shared, system-wide commitment to serve the people of Plymouth and its surrounding areas well.

The Care Quality Commission carried out a local system review of Plymouth’s Health and Care services in December. The review was intended to identify any gaps or problems in the system or areas of good practice in the way in which councils and the NHS work together with partners in the voluntary and private sector to reduce the number of people over 65 delayed in hospital beds.

CQC inspectors looked at the joint working of the City Council, NEW Devon CCG, Livewell Southwest and Plymouth Hospitals NHS trust, as well as care providers in the voluntary and private sector.

The review focused on three areas:

  • maintaining the wellbeing of a person in their own home
  • crisis management
  • a person’s return home following a hospital stay

The review team assessed the areas against its five criteria, considering whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. They found that there had been some innovative work undertaken to design an approach which aimed to improve how people move between services, and prevents unnecessary hospital attendances or admissions. They acknowledged positive examples of staff working in a joined up way to achieve good outcomes for people and recognised that frontline staff understand the importance of engaging with people and their families when delivering care.

The report highlighted that leadership was strong across the health and social care system, and positive relationships were leading to effective partnership working. Political leaders were united in their support of the strategic vision and priorities for the city and surrounding areas, despite political and financial pressures.. This meant there was a shared commitment to ensuring people received better quality care.

Whilst the review team acknowledged the pressures the health and social care system is under in Plymouth it noted that system leaders were aware of the shared challenge to reduce the causes of delayed transfers of care.

The report concluded that the Council and its health partners are tackling known challenges by focussing on prevention and early intervention services along with the further development of staff. In addition through working with NHS England, system leaders continue to focus on sustainable primary care for the city. They felt Plymouth was well on its journey towards integration and some positive progress had been made.

Councillor Lynda Bowyer Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Our priority always has to be the health and wellbeing of our residents, so we welcomed the opportunity for the CQC to review how we work with partner organisations to ensure we’re doing all we can to help vulnerable people get the best possible care. Plymouth is already on its journey to integration and some positive progress had been made to date. I am pleased the hard work of council staff, health and voluntary sector partners has been recognised with the positive comments within this report. However, there is never room for complacency and our focus must remain on ensuring people get the right care and support at the right time.”

Dr Nick Roberts, Chief Officer for the two Clinical Commissioning Groups in Devon, said: “The CQC undertook a thorough review of the Plymouth health and social care system and the final report is a really encouraging read. Whilst we know there has been significant progress made there is always room for more and together we will address the challenges that still exist. Significant work has taken place to involve the people of Plymouth and its surrounding areas in the development of health and social care services and we will continue to keep an open dialogue. This has only been enabled by the thousands of staff who work across health and social care services and have played a vital role in the achievements to date.”

You can read the report in full online.