Wigan Council’s approach to health and social care has been highlighted as a model of best practice in a national report.
The independent report, released on Monday (Januar 13) by think tank The King’s Fund, was commissioned by the Local Government Association and highlighted the authority for its innovation in improving health outcomes for the people of Wigan through The Deal model.
The Deal, a major transformation programme that has been implemented over the last six years, attempts to manage demand for services by ‘working with’ rather than ‘doing to’ and bringing its workforce together around a ‘shared vision and ethos’.
The aims of The Deal include making Wigan a place where people want to invest, live, work and visit, with the council working with public and private sector partners, as well as community groups to develop sustainable economic growth, skills, infrastructure and a sense of pride and belief in the borough.
A spokesman for Wigan Council said that, since The Deal was implemented in 2012, Wigan Council has saved more than £140m in response to central government funding cuts, representing 40 per cent of its overall budget. Despite this, in that same period healthy life expectancy has increased significantly, bucking the national trend.
The authority said, over the past six years, premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and from cancer have both fallen faster in Wigan than in England as a whole. This is in part connected to a significant reduction in smoking rates and high rates of physical activity.
And there has also been significant improvements to the quality of care homes with an increase in those rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission. Staff engagement has improved, school readiness figures are now in line with the national average and in March 2019 the Local Government Chronicle named Wigan ‘Council of the Year.’
Cllr Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: ‘We know the long term health and wellbeing of residents will only be improved if organisations and communities work together.
‘In its simplest form, that’s what the Wigan Deal is about – working together to create a culture of empowerment to draw on the strengths and assets of individuals and communities.
‘We’re already seeing improved health outcomes from joined-up integrated working through the Healthier Wigan Partnership and we’re leading the way nationally with this innovative work.’
A spokesman for Wigan Council said, last year, an in-depth report into the council’s approach to transformation argued the model could have a major impact if considered more widely, looking particularly at the NHS.
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