COUNCIL chiefs were today expected to launch a £26million fund that aims to improve health and social care services for people with complex conditions in East Lancashire.

The Better Care Fund, a joint initiative from Lancashire County Council and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, will be used to drive through better integration between NHS and social care workers.

This will involve staff being retrained to better understand each others’ roles, care home improvement teams, single GP practice links for care homes and more support for people who want to receive end-of-life care at home.

The fund also aims to identify health issues earlier, provide a single point of contact to co-ordinate people’s care where needed, and seven-day services to support patients being discharged from hospital and prevent unnecessary admissions at weekends.

It does not provide extra money for East Lancashire, but is part of a Government initiative to merge some health and social care funding to encourage different authorities to work more closely together.

Azhar Ali, chairman of Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “The aim is to better co-ordinate people’s care based on their needs. This will avoid crisis situations, improve the quality of services while offering better value for money.

“We will also work with voluntary and community organisations to improve the wellbeing of our residents and to help them live as independently as possible.”

Tim Mansfield, chief operating officer at East Lancashire CCG, said: “The Better Care Fund will enable us to accelerate the work we are doing to provide locally based integrated services with better co-ordination and single point of contact for patients, their families and carers.”