A network of wellbeing hubs is to be opened across Plymouth to give residents easier and earlier access to health advice and support.
The hubs will offer information and support on a range of issues such as health and wellbeing, finance, employment and mental health, with some offering more specialist support in areas where it is most needed.
The Plymouth City Council and North Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group initiative aims to make is easier for people to get advice by providing it in places they are likely to be visiting anyway.
It is hoped that enabling more people to get the right type of help earlier will ultimately reduce pressure on social care and health services.
The plans, which are to be considered by the City Council’s Cabinet on 16 January, include opening three types of hub depending on the needs of each community.
Locations such as libraries, GP surgeries, children’s centres and job centres will be part of a network of universal hubs where existing trained staff will provide advice, information and signposting at all opportunities, as well as ensuring people can access easy to use online information and advice.
Targeted hubs will be located in places where people naturally congregate and will offer the same as universal hubs but will provide a further level of support to patients in areas where there are specific needs and a range of activity to combat loneliness and provide volunteering opportunities.
The aim will be to ensure staff are able to have good quality conversations with users to identify the root causes of someone’s problems, their ability change and the help they will need either through brief interventions towards behaviour change or more ongoing support.
Specialist hubs will also provide a full range of specialist clinical health and social care support.
The hubs will be created through a mixture of remodelling of existing services and partnership working with the voluntary, community and social enterprise, Community Connections, Livewell Southwest (LSW) and primary care provision. Once running, the aim is for the initiative to be cost-neutral.
The aim is to have the first targeted hub and some of the first universal hubs open by March 2018. Proposed locations for the first phase of the targeted and specialist hubs include the Jan Cutting Healthy Living Centre, Guild House (Mannamead Centre), Four Greens Community Trust (CEDT), Ocean Health Centre (Stirling Road Surgery), Cumberland Centre and the Rees Centre.
In the second phase the aim is to open hubs at Estover, Southway, Efford Youth and Community Centre, Plymstock and Mount Gould.
Councillor Lynda Bowyer, the Cabinet Member responsible for Health said: “The aim of introducing Wellbeing Hubs is to provide the right type of support where and when people need it. By getting help and support earlier, people can live healthier lives and this will ultimately reduce the growing pressure on health and social care services.
“This is part of our ongoing drive to take a more joined-up approach with health and social care services to ensure people get the right help, in the right place at the right time.”