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North Cumbria Integrated Care launches 2024-2029 strategy, highlighting need to increase digital connectivity

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has published its strategy for 2024-2029, outlining plans to “transform services through innovation” including making use of virtual technologies and utilising digital tools to support community hospitals.

The trust notes that “a great deal has happened” since the launch of the last system strategy in 2020, highlighting challenges to be tackled including “a need to increase our digital connectivity in North Cumbria” to help with provision of services over a large geographical area with limited transportation systems.

One of the aims is to improve performance productivity; as part of this, the trust commits to working with partners to improve patient flow, including exploring how to make better use of existing estate and “fully utilise” community hospitals as digitally-enabled healthcare hubs.

On transforming services through innovation, the trust shares plans to “exploit digital connectivity” via new and emerging virtual technologies with the aim of improving access to services and support, along with investing in current and future estate to support new models of care, integrating and expanding specialist elective services, and looking into the potential development of an “integrated emergency care village model”.

The system strategy is to be underpinned by 12 enabling plans, set to be approved by the board over 2024/25; digital is one of these, sitting alongside areas such as carbon reduction, quality improvement and communications and engagement, as well as key care areas such as cancer and mental health.

On existing work, the trust highlights its partnership with the University of Central Lancashire’s National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine, noting that together the partnership provide education and training with the aim of equipping healthcare professionals “with the knowledge and skills to provide gold standard care”.

View the strategy in full here.

Last month, we shared an update from North East and North Cumbria ICB on the progress made towards digitisation of social care, with the ICB highlighting how the first year of funding from the Department of Health and Social Care has enabled direct grant funding for 83 adult social care providers, 70 residential adult settings and 13 community-based acute social care services, to support the implementation of digital social care record technology.

Last year, we were joined by representatives from North Cumbria Integrated Care along with the NHS England blueprinting team, for a discussion on how digital tools can cultivate a more inclusive shared learning experience. Catch up here.