A major new study - called CLASSIC - is to examine Salford's pioneering integrated care programme for older people.
Salford Integrated Care Programme (SICP) is revolutionising the delivery of care with more 'joined up' services for older people with long-term conditions and social care needs. It includes better access to community resources and support to help people manage their own health; the development of an integrated contact centre to assist people to get the right support; and multi-disciplinary teams to make sure different services work together to get the best possible results for those people with most needs.
The programme is being driven forward by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford City Council, NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
The £1.2M CLASSIC (Comprehensive Longitudinal Assessment of Salford Integrated Care) research study will investigate whether SICP is a success and why, by asking 4,000 older people about their care over two years as the changes are rolled out.
It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (NIHR HS & DR) Programme and is a collaboration between health and social care organisations in Salford and The University of Manchester.
Principal Investigator Professor Peter Bower, from the University's Centre for Primary Care, said: "There is worldwide interest in developing new ways of delivering services to better meet the needs of people with long-term conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. People often feel that their needs are not met by current services, which are designed to treat individual diseases rather than taking a more comprehensive perspective.
"The Salford Integrated Care Programme aims to introduce better ways of working through some really fundamental service redesign. Our CLASSIC research study is designed to test whether these changes lead to better outcomes, and to help the NHS learn from the process for the future.
"We will be looking very closely at what these changes really mean for older people with long-term conditions - we want them to tell us how their health is and how they feel the care programme is working for them."
Jack Sharp, Executive Director of Strategy and Development at Salford Royal, said: "Over the next 18 months Salford will be implementing a new model of care which will enable older people to retain their independence, have greater input into their own care and gain access to rapid support when it is required. The CLASSIC research study will enable us to understand the impact we are having, not just on how older people use services but their experience of the care we provide."
City Mayor Ian Stewart said: "We are developing a pioneering partnership which will revolutionise services for older people in Salford. Our aim is to keep people healthy, happy and independent in their own homes for as long as possible and to make sure they have first class services when they need them."
CLASSIC researchers will invite a group of 4,000 people aged 65 and over to be part of the study through their GPs at the start of the evaluation. They will be followed over time to measure changes in their health and their experience of care as the SICP is delivered, with surveys every six months.People in the cohort will also be asked to help evaluate new ways of working that are developed over time. The CLASSIC study will also talk to professionals across health and social care, to understand their perspectives on the changes.