A new system is being proposed for health and social care in Cornwall. The ‘Shaping Our Future’ system is being set up by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health and Social Care Partnership and will involve the NHS, Cornwall Council and the voluntary sector.  The project has five stages:

  • System Oversight and Assurance Groups
  • System Executiveh
  • System-wide planning and design
  • Locality planning, design and delivery
  • Coordination of System Delivery

Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum is already involved in the process of setting up the system, and has representatives on the Health and Wellbeing Board, the System Health and Care Leadership Board and the System-wide planning and design.

Shaping our Future has been described as a transformational programme, created to bring health and care organisations across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly closer together to collaboratively design and deliver safe, sustainable and more joined up health and care services.  This will be something that everyone can be proud of – wherever possible close to where local people live and work, and with the active engagement and support of voluntary partners and local communities.

The key aims of Shaping Our Future are to:

  • Improve the health and wellbeing of our local population
  • Improve people’s experiences of care
  • Make best use of all the resources made available to us
  • Improve the experience of providing care – there is good evidence that this impacts on the quality of care people are able to give


Why does the provision of health and social care need to change?

Nationally there has been recognition that the provision of health and social care has not moved fast enough to service the needs of a rapidly changing population. These changes include:

  • The ageing population – Cornwall is one of a small number of areas known to have a super ageing population. By 2025 the number of people in our area aged between 75 and 84 is expected to increase by 47%, a much faster rate than in other parts of the country. At present, almost half of all expenditure each year is associated with caring for older population and the new system will ensure that services are invested in that will better support the older population to live well and independently for as long as possible.
  • A growing understanding that illnesses from lifestyle behaviours are preventable with improved self-care, education and support. There need to be more resources and capacity in prevention and early intervention, particularly to ensure all children get the best possible start to living a healthy life. This focus on improved physical health and mental well-being should benefit people of all ages, helping children and young people do well at school, reducing working days lost to ill-health, and fewer years of ill-health for older people.
  • There is a strong link between levels of wellness and deprivation, which is especially important because Cornwall has 17 neighbourhoods that are amongst the most deprived areas in England. People in deprived areas are twice as likely to be physically inactive than the least deprived, and reports show that 25% of local children are overweight or obese, and around 25,000 people in Cornwall drink at harmful levels. Cornwall has high rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis and in many cases, these conditions can be prevented or delayed.


How will it work?

To enable services to be better tailored to local needs, and to optimise local community assets, seven integrated health and care communities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, within three integrated care areas (West, Mid and North/ East) will be established. Multidisciplinary teams, including primary care, mental health services and social care services, will increasingly focus on early intervention, illness prevention and encouraging self-care.


What will the future of Health and Social Care look like?

Once the health and wellbeing of the population of Cornwall improves, it is hoped that the cost-per-head of providing health and care services will reduce, allowing the system to cope with growth, and help more people within the same budget, thus creating a sustainable health and social care provision for future generations.

A Health and Care Academy will be established in Cornwall, which will allow the health and social care workforce to develop and grow, and establish itself as offering quality jobs and career opportunities that attract a younger generation of health and care professionals.

With a worry over privatisation of the NHS being prevalent, it has been agreed that all partners sign up to an Accord. This is an agreement that puts making the system work in a more integrated way, for the benefit of local people and staff, above the needs of our individual organisations.

A successful system would see a major shift from heavy reliance on acute and costly hospital care to prevention, supporting self-care, out-of-hospital, integrated care centred around local community provision, including networks of GP practices and multi-disciplinary teams. This would lead to care closer to home and moving away from care based around beds.


What role will the voluntary sector play?

An important one: the new system aims to improve place-based coordination and collaboration of the voluntary sector to increase social capital, develop caring neighbourhoods, villages and towns in order to enhance individual and community resilience.

Richard Williams, Chairman of Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum explains,

“The involvement of the voluntary sector is central to the success of this proposed system. Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum will be making sure we demonstrate at all levels how this can be achieved by building relationships and providing information on the voluntary sector, its experience and skill set.”


View the proposed Shaping Our Future system here.

If anyone would like to share their thoughts or comments on this, please contact Richard Williams, Chairman of Cornwall VSF on Richard.williams@cornwallvsf.org