Supporting our vulnerable adults

Plan for social workers to join GP surgeries

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Michael Gosling (right) with Andrew Dilnot. Click image to download

Social workers could join GP surgeries under plans being developed by Surrey County Council.

The authority is exploring the idea of putting social workers who care for older people into practices.

Surrey has already taken the first steps towards integrating the health and social care services in one area of the county.

Social care staff have been assigned to surgeries and participate in regular meetings held at practices to help patients stay in their own homes and communities.

Doctors and social workers often provide services to the same people, for instance those with a mental health issue.

The proposal aims to allow the professionals to work together face-to-face to ensure all needs are covered and there is no duplication.

It comes after council social services staff were installed permanently on Surrey hospital wards to help older people return home quicker* and ahead of the changes to the NHS next April.

Under the NHS reforms, public health will transfer to councils and GPs will take control of around £65bn of NHS spending. At the same time, councils responsible for social care will work with GPs through health and wellbeing boards**.

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Michael Gosling said: “GPs and social care staff play a vital role in treating and supporting older people so it makes sense to look at new ways of helping them work closer together, especially as we prepare to take on a much bigger role in health.

“We are at an early stage in the development of this idea but putting our staff into GP practices has the potential to remove barriers to communication and unnecessary bureaucracy, giving patients a better service and helping them stay in the homes they love.”

Ends

* Including Epsom General and Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.

** Surrey’s board is jointly chaired by Mr Gosling and GP Joe McGilligan.

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