Author Archives: East Sussex Better Together

ESBT Welfare Benefits and Debt Project helps 12,500 since April ’16

Our Welfare Benefits and Debt project provides a lifeline for local people in need of help and support.

The ESBT welfare benefits and debt project was initially set up in 2013 in response to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to help local people to access their correct benefit entitlements. The service provides independent and confidential benefits and debt advice to residents across East Sussex. Since 2016 it has been funded by our two local CCGs (H&R and EHS) who recognise that poverty is a major determinant of health inequality. This project is a great example of prevention work as it seeks to address socially determined health inequalities.

WBDP successes

In the first 15 months of the ESBT funded project, a sizeable £2.7 million of debt has been managed for 400 clients with long tern physical or mental health conditions and over 12,500 people have received benefits and debt advice.

In the first quarter of 2017 alone, 2,530 people received benefits advice while 144 people received debt advice. After getting help from this service, 81 per cent of clients said that their mental health and wellbeing had improved. Clients were referred into the service from health and social care professionals and from outreach sessions held in GP Practices and other health and wellbeing locations. The couple below are just one of many who have received help and advice which made a real difference to their quality of life.

Mr C, 83 & Mrs C, 82, live in a one bedroom, privately rented flat. They both suffer from long term conditions including heart problems, COPD, asthma, arthritis and spinal problems. They also suffer from social isolation as their poor health means they are unable to use public transport and they cannot afford to pay for private transport.

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East Sussex: full of life!

Join us in celebrating ten years of Older People’s Day in East Sussex with a packed programme of events, coming soon to your area.

People in the UK are living longer, which is great news, and East Sussex has a much older population than the UK average, with 24.9% being over 65 in 2015. We’ve been ranked in the top five places to retire and with the beautiful rolling countryside and idyllic coastal towns, it’s no wonder that many people choose to move here in their later years.

No matter where they live, as a person gets older, they are likely to experience one or more of the following; physical isolation, lack of companionship, loss of independence or the absence of a responsible role in society. All of these situations can leave somebody more vulnerable to some serious physical and mental health issues.

There are many ways to combat these negative effects on your health and wellbeing when you get older. Volunteering in the community, attending a book club, learning a new skill and joining a local leisure centre are all great examples of how to stay social and active. Doing any of these simple activities can bring a wealth of benefits, including a sense of belonging, feeling healthier and young at heart, increased confidence and general feeling of wellbeing and improved quality of life.

1st October 2017 is Older People’s Day – an annual event to celebrate our older population, recognise their valuable contributions to society and to examine issues that affect their lives. This year is a special one as it is the 10th anniversary, and we have worked together with seniors’ forums, the voluntary sector and community groups to commemorate the occasion with an exciting programme of events taking place throughout September and October. From film clubs to farm visits, historical lectures to ‘how-to’ workshops, and plenty of cake-related gatherings, there is something for everyone!

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The Big Gig – There’s more to me than LD!

The Big Gig - Save the DateThe Big Gig is an inclusive free event celebrating the good work with and for people with learning disabilities. For several years people involved in learning disability have met at Locality Meetings to talk about issues that are important to them. The people attending these groups suggested that we hold an event for everyone in East Sussex – so that is what we are doing!

The Involvement Matters Team – a group of adults with a learning disability – work with East Sussex County Council to ensure the views of people with a learning disability are heard. They have been running a campaign called ‘There’s more to me than LD’ to raise awareness that having a learning disability is part of who you are, but not the only part. This campaign is the theme of The Big Gig and campaign films can be seen here.

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Green light for ESBT Alliance plans

EBST Alliance partners have approved plans for closer health and social care integration for ‘our patch’ in East Sussex.

During July, plans for closer integration between health and social care were taken to the governing bodies of ESCC, ESHT and EHS and HR CCGs, as full members of the ESBT Alliance, for discussion.  SPFT will also be considering the proposals as an associate member of the Alliance at their Board meeting in September.

We are happy to report that our plans to formalise further health and social care integration for the ESBT footprint were approved. This means we will now strengthen our Alliance arrangement by April 2018, with the supporting legal framework and single leadership creating the conditions for moving towards a single health and care entity for East Sussex in the future.

This is a key milestone that builds on the hard work that we have done together with local people, stakeholders and staff to create the best health and social care system for residents in our footprint.

We consider this legal vehicle to be the best option to tackle this year’s challenges and to make the best use of our resources. This approach will allow us to provide the highest quality care for local people delivered in the right place, at the right time.

More information on the recommendation is available on the ESBT website here.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Play your part in reducing medicines waste

Two local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are running a campaign to try and cut down the amount of unused medicines that are thrown away.

It has been estimated that £300 million of NHS prescribed medicines are wasted each year. In the areas covered by Eastbourne Hailsham and Seaford (EHS) CCG and Hastings and Rother (H&R) CCG, the estimated cost of wasted medicines is over £3 million.

The campaign is part of the work of the East Sussex Better Together Alliance; a partnership between the two CCGs, East Sussex County Council, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which is transforming health and social care in the local area by bringing together prevention work, primary and community care, social care, mental health, acute and specialist care.

To highlight the issue of medicines waste, posters and leaflets will be appearing in local GP surgeries and pharmacies over the next couple of months.

The key messages of the campaign are:

  • Check your stock at home before ordering more
  • Don’t tick it on your repeat slip if you don’t need it
  • Talk to your pharmacist or GP if you have any questions about your medicines

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Help Shape the Future of NHS 111

Work with us to make the vital phone service work for you.

If you have a pressing health concern but you’re not sure whether it’s an emergency, you can call 111 at any time, all year round. The important NHS service receives over 7000 calls a week from Sussex residents and has provided a huge relief to the demands on emergency departments and local GP surgeries.

The contract for the current service provider will come to an end in 2018 and we want to use this time to find out how we can improve the service for local people.

Perhaps you or someone you know has had a fantastic experience using the service? Maybe you think the service could provide new communication options for users such as Skype or Facetime. Would you have preferred to answer fewer questions before referral to a medical professional? We want to know!

Whether or not you have used NHS 111, if you have something to say about what the service does well or what could be improved, you can help make a difference and complete our survey by following the link.

All feedback is valuable and will have an impact on how we use money and resources when we come to decide on how the service continues to run when the new contract goes live in April 2019.

Please take the time to fill out this important survey and tell us how we can make NHS 111 work for you. Alternatively, if you would like to receive a paper copy, please contact the 111 Transformation Team on 07711920424 or email them at

New Carers Prescription now available

Carer’s health and wellbeing gets new boost with launch of Carers Prescription service to tackle isolation, ill health and mental health issues.

A new Carers Prescription has been launched in GP surgeries by Care for the Carers and the local hospitals to make it easier for health practitioners to refer carers for a range of support. This is especially important as frontline professionals such as GPs, nurses, pharmacists and social workers play a central role in ensuring carers are identified and signposted to support as soon as possible.

Evidence shows that the longer it takes to identify as a carer the more likely it is that carers will struggle without the support and advice they need. This can impact negatively on health and wellbeing, from long-term physical effects such as back pain, to mental health and social isolation.

Care for the Carers (CFTC) will receive the Carer Prescription and will contact the carer within two working days. Carers will be able to discuss how caring is effecting them and will be offered advice and information about support available from CFTC or another partner organisation that supports carers.

How ESBT prioritises carers

There are approximately 60,000 carers in East Sussex and at least 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives. The ESBT Alliance recognises the needs of carers across all clinical settings by:

Find out more

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Working in partnership; going forward together

Planning and partnerships workshop brings together local people to plan future community involvement in health and care planning.

Over 120 people came together to share their ideas and experiences at a dynamic Planning and Partnerships workshop in Hastings on 07 July.Co-production is - image

The workshop emerged following an extensive review of how people and organisations are involved in shaping health and care services in East Sussex. It provided an opportunity for anyone interested in being involved to comment on proposals for a new countywide health and wellbeing stakeholder representative group.

“I valued the chance to feed in and share ideas. It was nice to meet new people and it felt like we were achieving something.” Participant at Planning and Partnership workshop.

Participants came from a wide range of organisations and backgrounds, including health and care organisations, the fire service, police, large and small voluntary and community organisations and individuals and carers. In small groups, through lively facilitated discussions, they shared their experiences and knowledge of how people can be effectively engaged in shaping services. They:

  • Agreed the principles and values which would be required for this new collaborative approach to be successful and for co-production between people who commission services, provide services and use services to flourish.
  •  Provided a wealth of ideas on how to ensure the group is representative, how participants can best be supported, and they discussed how priorities and agendas should be set.

“We believe that the more involvement, experience and knowledge we build in to our services the better they will be for everyone.” Paula Gorvett, ESBT Programme Manager

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Nominate a nurse for our East Sussex Better Together Above and Beyond Award

Do you know a nurse that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to support a lovedNurse administers a vaccine one or neighbour? Perhaps their caring nature has extended much further to also help their family members and friends. If so, why not say thank you by nominating them for our special Above and Beyond Public Choice Award.

Our nurses in East Sussex do an amazing job, caring for local people in times of illness and injury whether they are at home, in hospital, or residential care. East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) is celebrating the compassion and professionalism our nurses show every single day through our award scheme.

The winners will be announced at a special event held in Eastbourne in October 2017, and we’re asking members of the public to nominate a nurse that has made a difference to a local person’s life, or the wider community.

You can download the nomination form here. Please email your completed form to or post to ESBT Nurses Conference Awards, Freepost SEA2472, BN8 2ZZ.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Friday, 15 September 2017. We look forward to hearing from you!

Success for ESBT and i-Rock at Healthcare Transformation Awards

East Sussex Better Together and i-Rock mental health service for young people recognised at a national integrated health and social care awards event.

ESBT has received national recognition at the Healthcare Transformation Awards, winning the ‘Fostering Commissioner and Provider Collaboration’ category. This is a national awardHealthcare transformation award winnerss scheme supported by NHS England, NHS Clinical Commissioners and the National Association of Primary Care.

In addition, our innovative i-Rock service for young people in Hastings was highly commended in the ‘Redesign of Care in Mental Health’ category, which is another fantastic achievement.

The ‘Fostering Commissioner & Provider Collaboration’ award celebrates closer collaboration that will allow commissioners and providers to better plan in a coherent way to provide the highest quality healthcare, reduce any inequalities in access to services and to improve outcomes.

The judges said they were:

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