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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Help Direct is Ending .... Here are LCC's new plans for The Integrated Wellbeing Service


Stakeholder update – May 2015

The Integrated Wellbeing Service


You may be aware that Lancashire County Council is developing a new Integrated Wellbeing Service which will replace Help Direct and other related services such as Connect 4 Life, Social Prescribing and Health Trainers. We realise that these changes may affect you and your service and want to keep you updated on what is happening and when, to ensure as seamless transition as possible into the new service. We will be providing a number of briefings like this over the coming months but please do let us know if you no longer want to receive the updates.

What is changing and why?

Lancashire County Council is committed to improving 'wellbeing' across Lancashire. 'Wellbeing' is defined as a proactive, preventive approach that emphasises the whole person and which works to achieve optimum levels of physical, mental, social and emotional health, opposed to a silo focus on one aspect of a person's health.

We want a consistent approach across Lancashire working in the locations that people need the most help. At a time when contracts across various services were due to expire, we have taken the opportunity to look how we can bring some of the great learning from different services together and create a revised service. This is not about reducing services and support but providing a more holistic approach through a new contract which in fact will see more money being spent on this area of need and mean better outcomes for everyone.

Therefore from 1 September 2015 Help Direct, Connect 4 Life, Social Prescribing and Health Trainers will not exist in the same guise but will be replaced by what we are calling an Integrated Wellbeing Service, part of which will be provided in-house by Lancashire County Council's telephone line, and part of which will be provided by a commissioned Wellbeing Worker Service. Please note this is not a public facing title but more one that we will use with stakeholders such as yourself to describe the area of work.

The Wellbeing Worker service is currently out to tender and the successful applicant/s will be announced towards the end of June or early July, and we will let you know of the outcome.

The Integrated Wellbeing Service

From 1 September 2015 the Integrated Wellbeing Service will include telephone and website information, guidance, and support to help adults in Lancashire to stay well and maintain independence. In addition there will be a face to face service delivered by a 'Wellbeing Worker' which will mainly be accessed via referrals from primary care and other partners and will focus on supporting vulnerable adults at risk of a health or social care crisis. The Wellbeing Worker will empower individuals to build resilience and be in control of their own health and well-being with a focus on three main outcome areas:

  • Improving mental wellbeing

  • Reducing loneliness and social isolation

  • Improving ability to self-care

The Wellbeing Workers will be oriented round neighbourhoods and work closely with GP practices and other partners to identify and support vulnerable people who could benefit from the service.

In essence the service for individuals will only be improved, as advice and signposting over will still exist from the Lancashire County Council telephone line and improved website content (from Oct 2015), and those in need of more intensive support will be assigned to a Wellbeing Worker who will provide a holistic approach to helping the individual with their needs. The main difference is that we will be using all the best practice and learning from a collection of previous services under one contract.

How will the new service be accessed by the customer?

There will be two different levels of access into the service for individuals needing help. Those looking for advice and support can visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/health or call 0303 333 11 11 for signposting and advice over the phone. From October onwards the advice and support on-line will become more in-depth and will eventually include a diagnostic self-assessment tool. You will note that the telephone number is the same number as the Help Direct line which will allow continuity for those who have previously used the service.

Access into the Wellbeing Worker Service will mainly be by referral and the details of the referral process will be the responsibility of the new chosen provider/s, in partnership with referring agencies and stakeholders, when decided. We will keep you updated on how this will work over the coming months. We know this is crucial to helping some of the vulnerable people you may come across professionally and you will want to be involved in shaping the pathways so that they meet local needs.

The criteria for referral will include:

  • Mild mental health problems (such as low mood, anxiety, stress, mild depression)

  • Social isolation, few or poor social networks

  • Experiencing difficult circumstances, e.g. problems with family, finance, employment

  • Struggling to cope/ feeling overwhelmed, particularly in managing long term conditions

  • Behavioural risk factors e.g. substance misuse, smoking, weight, and need more help to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

What will happen to Help Direct?

Help Direct is currently run by four different providers across Lancashire and this contract comes to an end on 31 August 2015. Over the coming months Help Direct will be winding down its large scale promotional activity due to the changes but will still be providing a service until the new contract is in place. The current Help Direct providers will stop taking long term referrals from mid-July as these can take some time to complete which would take them beyond their contract date. However, they will continue to provide general support and advice and will work with the successful applicant/s of the new contract to ensure vulnerable individuals are not overlooked during this handover period. The finer details of this will need to be discussed once the new contract is awarded and we will keep you updated.

Once the contract for Help Direct ends on 31 August the brand name will no longer exist and all materials, shop branding etc. will be removed from circulation as far as possible. The general telephone number 0303 333 11 11 will remain and calls will be picked up by Lancashire County Council as they currently are now.

What will happen to Connect 4 Life?

Connect 4 Life is a project which works in partnership with GP surgeries, Health Professionals and the community, voluntary, faith sectors across central and west Lancashire. This contract was due to end at the end of September 2015 but will now be mainstreamed into the new service.

The project involves taking non clinical, social related referrals from GP multi-disciplinary team meetings and direct referrals from other health professionals. One strand of the project focuses on empowering patients, primarily with long term conditions, to manage their conditions and to lead fulfilling and well supported lives in their communities. The other strand focuses on strengthening the assets of local communities through partnerships with district stakeholders.

Similar to the current model for Connect 4 Life, the Wellbeing Worker Service will support people to connect with the assets in their community, and also to realise their own assets and strengths. The Wellbeing Worker Service will play a central role in determining the need for and development of other interventions and activities especially those that will contribute to the main outcome areas of improved mental health, reduced loneliness and social isolation, and better ability to self-care.

Over the coming months Connect 4 Life will also be winding down its activity, but will still be providing a service until the new contract is in place. The Connect 4 Life team will continue to attend multi-disciplinary teams to maintain relationships, offer advice and signposting to other services. After 19 June, the team will take referral information to transfer to the new provider when the contract is in place. Any urgent referrals (as determined by the MDT) can still be progressed to ensure vulnerable clients are not overlooked during the transition period. However, we need to keep the number of clients still in the system at the end of August to a minimum. Further details will be worked through with new provider as soon as possible and we will keep you updated in the next bulletin.

What is happening and when?



New Integrated Wellbeing Service contract awarded

Late June / early July 2015

Transition/implementation period

July – August 2015

Service starts

September 2015

Although inevitably there will be some disruption, we aim to minimise this as far as possible. There will be a two month overlap between the new contract being awarded at the end of June and the Help Direct and Connect 4 Life contracts ending on 31 August and we will be working closely with all involved to get the new service up and running as fast as possible, with key early actions being to work with GPs and referring partners to co-produce the pathways and processes. Please bear with us during the transition period and we look forward to working with you to help shape the new service.

What are the benefits of the changes?

By bringing a number of similar services together and using best practice from each, a Lancashire wide service will be offered that provides consistency across the county

  • The Wellbeing Worker Service will provide targeted support and will mainly be a referral based service, this will ensure the right people get the additional support that they need

  • GPs and other partners will be able to refer patients directly into the service

  • The patients who can benefit from the service will include people who are currently accessing the GP advisor Help Direct Service, Connect 4 Life and Social Prescribing and these interventions will be brought together under a new more streamlined approach

  • The service will help patients with non-clinical issues and support practices to reduce demand for GP appointments where there is no obvious clinical need

  • The service will be aligned with multi-disciplinary teams to form part of the overall care package for high intensity users of health and social care services, to provide an integrated approach

  • Simple information and signposting needs will be dealt with outside of the Wellbeing Worker Service therefore freeing up more time to be spent with people who need more intensive support

  • The service will support CCGs to reduce health care usage and associated costs

For more information

We will be sending out monthly updates but if you need further information please do get in touch. Or if you know anyone who would benefit from getting this update please let us know.


Tel: 01772 539810

Mobile: 07876 844071

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