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11.04.16

NHS invests £1.75m to drive Shared Lives programme forward

More people with serious health problems will be cared for at home instead of in a hospital setting, NHS England has announced after launching a new £1.75m funding initiative.

Under the Shared Lives scheme, £1.75m will be given to CCGs to allow Shared Lives carers to provide either live-in care or short and long-term breaks for people with conditions including learning disabilities, dementia and mental illness, as well as people recovering from strokes and other medical crises.

Some NHS commissioners and providers already commission Shared Lives, but NHS England has now invested £1.75m in start-up and development funding. This means the scheme will become available in six to 10 areas to develop new NHS services on a match-funded basis, two of which will receive extra support as ‘accelerator regions’.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Whether helping someone with a learning disability to build a full life with a network of friends and family, or enabling an older person to recover from an operation in the peace and quiet of a familiar environment – people naturally value care and support in a loving family home.

“That’s why Shared Lives is an example of the kind of community and people-centred approach which needs to play a much bigger part in the NHS of the future."

The Shared Lives model will support people who have needs which make it hard for them to live on their own, by carefully matching them with a carer to share their family and lives, giving care and support in the community.

Alex Fox, chief executive of Shared Lives Plus, said: “We already see staggering health outcomes from people visiting or living in their chosen Shared Lives arrangement, because Shared Lives carers have the time and space to get to know people really well, understanding not only what they need but also what they are capable of doing for themselves.

“This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for the NHS to develop a world-leading approach to community based support, which will help people live good lives, but will also save millions from under-pressure NHS budgets.”

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As NHE went to press, many of us were still recovering from the chancellor’s unexpected health announcements in his last Spring Budget.   While the sector welcomed Philip Hammond’s revelations, centered on capital funding for advanced sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) and A&E triage schemes (page 24), the government failed to address the funding gap still facing the NHS.   Even the £2bn social care windfall, which Treasury has... read more >