Rising demand from a growing and ageing population, constraints on NHS funding and reductions in social care capacity, together with ongoing issues of recruiting the right staff continue to place the NHS in Devon under considerable pressure.
As we recover from the pandemic, these pressures will only be increased.
For some time, it has been widely recognised that health and care services could be organised in a way that better meets the needs of the population.
That is why the NHS, together with local councils, GPs, voluntary sector organisations and communities, are working differently by providing more care in people’s homes and the community – breaking down barriers between services.
At the same time, we know that the NHS also needs to give greater priority to the prevention of ill health by working with partners to tackle both the wider determinants of health and wellbeing and the persistent and unacceptable health inequalities that remain rooted in the county. These inequalities have been bought to the fore by the pandemic.
This will involve engaging the public in changing lifestyles and behaviours that contribute to ill health – acting on the recommendations of the Marmot report and other reviews to improve population health.
To make this a reality in Devon, the NHS and local authorities are establishing an integrated care system (ICS) covering all of Devon.
The Devon ICS will take more control of funding and performance with less involvement by national bodies and regulators and will be based on the principle of co-operation and not competition.
It is expected that this will be in place by April 2022. To make this work at a more local level, we are establishing five local care partnerships (LCP) covering specific sub-regions in Devon.
The Eastern Devon LCP covers a large area from Axminister to Okehampton and includes Exeter, with a total population of around 400,000 people.
The LCP is not a new organisation but a renewed partnership that, by aligning resources and efforts, will collectively seek to make a difference to the lives of people in East Devon and Exeter.