Partnership working improves end of life care for people in south east Essex

Categories: Care, Featured, and Policy.

A partnership between various trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in south east Essex is improving end of life care for the area, and has resulted in a recent ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CCQ).

NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Southend CCG and Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) began working together after the 2018/19 CQC rating for end of life care was ‘requires improvement’.

This led to the Community Palliative Care Specialist Nurses Team and the Palliative Care Service Register Team integrating to become the EPUT Community Palliative Care Service, and working together towards improving end of life care for people in south east Essex.

Their objectives focused on improving identification of patients at the end of their life, empowering patients to achieve their preferred place of death or care, strengthening community partnerships, and to integrate better to improve the quality of patient end of life care.

The integration of the teams now means that more patients are identified as being end of life – these patients are now located on one central register which can also be accessed by GPs to deliver more joined-up, safe and high quality end of life care.

To support this partnership and upskilling of staff to deliver the very best advanced care planning, the CCGs and EPUT have invested £600,000. The aim is to enhance capacity of community specialist palliative care nurses and to address any necessary demands and deliver effective, high-quality care and support.

This additional support will allow capacity to be enhanced with focused care and advanced care planning through the assignment of a keyworker for each patient. The keyworker will ensure the patient receives the intervention and support required by closely liaising with other clinical and social care professionals in their own home environment. This improved co-ordinated approach will also reduce the demand on the hospital acute services for end of life care which can be provided in the patients’ home.

Since the teams have been working together, the CQC have rated the end of life care that EPUT provides as ‘outstanding’. EPUT is also rated as ‘outstanding’ overall for how it demonstrates ‘caring’. This latest rating – the highest possible rating given by the regulator – follows an inspection carried out during July and August 2019.

Paul Taylor, Associate Director of Partnerships and Integration, said: “It has been a pleasure working with EPUT, and the commitment and dedication of the Palliative Care teams to be able to improve care for end of life patients has been acknowledged by the CQC with an ‘outstanding’ rating’. The commissioning team with EPUT colleagues have worked with significant collaboration this year which is to be commended – well done all.”

Kevin McKenny, Deputy Director of Integrated Services and Out of Hospital Care at EPUT, said: “Through partnership with CCG, we have managed to build a unique comprehensive community service for patients nearing their end of life in South East Essex; a service that is fully integrated with our partners including GPs, palliative care hospital teams, Havens Hospices and social care, to provide high quality joined up care. The team are over the moon to receive the ‘outstanding’ acknowledgement from CQC, which is credit to the hard work and commitment by every member of the team.”

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on the Southend Clinical Commissioning Group’s website.