Trust to become first to enter home care market

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is set to become the first NHS trust to enter the home care market.

This follows a successful bid to Devon County Council, NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group for a new contract aimed at giving a vital boost to personal care services across the county.

The service, called Devon Cares, will share the Trust’s vision to deliver high-quality care that supports people’s health, wellbeing and independence.

The Council announced the decision to appoint the trust as ‘prime contractor’ for domiciliary care in Northern and Mid Devon in March and the plans have now been approved by the Trust’s board.

As ‘prime contractor’, the Trust will not directly deliver domiciliary care; it will manage care providers to ensure a continually improving quality and consistency of service.

Through this contract, care workers and other staff will benefit from improved pay and support arrangements as well as more opportunities for training and a clearer career path.

The move will allow the Trust to influence the quality of the increasing amount of care given outside of its hospitals and to ensure care providers are working to support people’s health and ability to live independently in their own homes.

Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Devon Cares will act as a bridge between health and social care, which will help us to provide better, more joined-up care for our patients between home and hospital.

“Providing high quality, consistent care at home will also help us to prevent avoidable hospital admissions. We also believe this will also allow us to address many of the care capacity problems and blockages facing the wider health system in Devon.”

The Trust will shortly begin a process to select care providers for Devon Cares, based on quality. In partnership with these providers, the Trust will aim to provide:

  • Higher quality care and support for vulnerable people, underpinned by the NHS
  • Greater independence for people to live their lives as fully as possible
  • Better pay and conditions for care workers to boost recruitment and retention
  • More training and career opportunities for care workers who can enter a career pathway which could lead to a job as a registered nurse
  • Greater certainty for providers so that they can plan for the future and improve their responsiveness
  • Greater integration with existing health and social care services so that people can get home more quickly

Dr Alison Diamond added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for both the Trust and for our patients.

“This is a completely new approach to domiciliary care that we hope will bring real benefits to people in Northern and Mid Devon.”

Notes to editors

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has been appointed to manage domiciliary care in the following areas:

Zone 1: Bideford, Northam, Great Torrington and Holsworthy

Zone 2: Ilfracombe, Lynton, Lynmouth, Barnstaple and South Molton

Zone 3: Tiverton, Crediton and Cullompton