MOVES to improve care for vulnerable patients have led to an agreement being made to bring health and social care services closer together in York.

A total of £12.1 million is being cut from current budgets in York and being pooled so that City of York Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can work closely together to integrate social and health care to comply with Government plans.

The aim of the integration is to stop vulnerable patients from falling into “the cracks” between the two sectors, the Government has said, and to reduce hospital stays by caring for people at home and to avoid costly health or social care later.

York’s “Better Care Fund Plan”, which has now been given the go-ahead by the Health and Wellbeing board, sets out how the sectors will work together in the future.

Plans include creating local care hubs of health and social care staff to deal with issues and help keep people at home, to share care records, and to appoint a lead person who takes responsibility for moving individuals between the two services.

Dr Mark Hayes, the CCG’s chief clinical officer, said: “The Better Care Fund will help the CCG to create integrated health and social care services that are reliable and within easy reach, regardless of where people live.

“Staying true to its promise to engage and involve the Vale of York community, the CCG hopes that patients, carers and the public will become partners in designing innovative health and social care services.”

Of the pooled budget, £11.1 million will come from Vale of York CCG and £951,000 from the council. The fund amount is £3.8 billion nationally, representing a top-slice of three per cent of CCG budgets.

York’s Better Care Fund Plan is being sent to the government for final approval after being signed by Kersten England, York council chief executive, Dr Mark Hayes, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s chief clinical officer,and Coun Tracey Simpson Laing, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board. It will then come into effect in April 2015.

Coun Simpson Laing said: “The sign-off of the Better Care Fund Plan is a significant step for York because it signifies our commitment to create a customer-focused, seamless service for health and social care in the city.”