A new report has found that health and care partners in South Yorkshire are outperforming other areas when it comes to joining up services for patients. That’s despite higher than average levels of deprivation.

Integration is a significant nationwide change to health and care services, aiming to improve care and support for people who use services, their carers and their families. It does this by putting a greater emphasis on joining up services and focussing on anticipatory and preventative care. 

Research by Carnall Farrar and the Institute for Public Policy Research looked at how successful Integrated Care Systems (a collaboration of partners including the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector now known as Integrated Care Partnerships) are doing at integrating local services.

The study found that in general prosperous regions were more successful at integration; however, South Yorkshire performed well despite having higher levels of deprivation. In fact, South Yorkshire performed much higher than more affluent areas in the south of the country on both measures of integration and outcomes for patients.

Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Partners across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield have a long track record of working together to improve people's health and their access to services - making it fairer for all.

“The data is encouraging and shows that we are making a real difference by working jointly with our partner organisations to tackle inequalities. It’s good to see that our areas’ higher levels of deprivation hasn’t prevented us from making a difference for patients.”

Some examples of the joined-up work already undertaken in South Yorkshire include:

  • Developing social prescribing schemes in each of the four places, with voluntary sector playing a leading role in helping people to access wide ranging services and activities, in the community, that support health and wellbeing. 
  • Working across the system to ensure that our investment in medicines is put to best use and patients receive the best outcomes
  • Working together across hospitals by:
    • Setting up a specialist stroke care pathway for everyone, regardless of where they live in South Yorkshire
    • Working with mums and pregnant women to improve neonatal and maternity care
    • Getting better value for money through collaborative procurement (buying) initiatives across the hospitals
    • Working across hospital hosted networks to improve clinical standards and reduce unintended variation across our five places

Dr David Crichton, Chief Medical Officer of NHS South Yorkshire, added: “Addressing Health Inequalities is one of our top priorities. We know deprivation has a significant impact on the wellbeing and life expectancy of our population. 

“We are working with all of our partners in the four places to understand the health and care needs of local people. By focusing our attention on communities and the people who live in them, we aim to support everyone to be healthier and happier.”