Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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Below are some frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for you can contact us. Questions asked by organisations and groups can also be seen by clicking on the relevant link below. 



What is Better Care Together all about?

Better Care Together is about ensuring that health and social care services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are capable of meeting the future needs of the local population. There are significant opportunities to improve the quality of care for people by providing more support and care for them in the community, closer to home. 

At the same time, services face increased and more complex demands because of the ageing population.There are also financial pressures.

All of this means that big changes are needed to the way health and social care are delivered. NHS organisations and local authorities have formed a partnership to plan and deliver such changes, under the Better Care Together banner. 

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Why can’t extra funding put things right? 

The amount of money spent on health and care in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland during the next five years will actually increase, but demand is also rising due, in part, to the growing number of people with long-term condition and complex illnesses. Simply, the funding available will not meet the cost of care, if we continue to provide services in the way we have always done. Without new ways of working to meet this additional demand, a financial gap will develop between the money we have to spend on health and care in LLR and the predicted expenditure. The gap will amount to almost £400 million by 2021-22.

Better Care Together is about implementing change across the whole system to meet the needs of an ageing population, so we need a joint approach. NHS teams and social care services can work together more closely for the benefit of local people. In fact, there are real opportunities to improve patient outcomes and experience through better prevention of ill-health, early intervention and community-based support. So while there are financial pressures, this isn’t just about money, it is about creating better services for patients that are financially sustainable.

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How can you solve Leicester’s health problems and Rutland’s at the same time?

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is a diverse area with a wide range of differing challenges. By involving organisations and professionals across these communities, we can ensure that wherever possible, services are being tailored to meet local needs.   

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How will a £400m funding gap be closed without damaging services and losing staff? 

It is possible to make NHS budgets go further by working differently and providing care that is more efficient, prevents ill health and reduces the number of hospital admissions. We do not plan to reduce the number of health and care staff in LLR, but they will need to work in different ways with more services provided in the community and by integrated teams of health and social care professionals.

However, the scale of the financial challenge does mean that some difficult decisions will need to be made along the way. Staff and the wider public will be heavily involved and consulted about any changes.

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Will there be cuts? 

There will be changes in services over time, which may mean that they are delivered differently. However, it is important to understand that providing a different service is not a “cut”. The changes are being designed by clinicians, NHS and social care staff with input from patients, to ensure that the needs of local people are being met. Services won’t be changed unless doctors and other professionals are satisfied that those needs can be met in other ways, which are often better for patients.

It is a fact that the changes also need to close the big financial gap in health and social care budgets, so finding ways of working more efficiently is an important element of Better Care Together. The scale of the financial challenge does mean that some significant decisions, for example about where services are provided, will need to be made and the public will be heavily involved and consulted.

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Are you closing the Leicester General Hospital?

We’re not closing it; it stays as a healthcare site just not as an acute hospital. There are three hospitals in Leicester as a result of history rather than design. For the last decade our clinical teams have been telling us that it’s nigh on impossible to run effective services when people and kit are duplicated and triplicated across three hospitals. Staff and patients are bounced between the three, clinical services that ought to be next to one another are separated which hinders team working and it’s clearly expensive to run. To be honest, if money were no object we would ideally like to go from three hospital sites to one, with every service ideally located under one roof but that would be prohibitively expensive and so the next best option is to consolidate acute services on to two sites, whilst retaining some non-acute services at the General.

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Will staff be expected to move their location? 

In some cases. The services are nothing without the staff and so if a service moves the expectation is that staff would move to. Most staff contracts reflect the fact that services move around frequently and hence people are expected to have to work at different sites during their career. Clearly, this will require lots of detailed planning to look at things like travel and access before anything happens and staff will have plenty of opportunity to contribute to those plans. 

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I still can’t get to see my GP when I want to, how will that be sorted? 

Better Care Together is looking for opportunities to improve all aspects of health and social care, including that from GPs. Indeed, GPs themselves are actively involved in the work we are doing. It is recognised that the success of Better Care Together depends on providing the right service in primary care (GPs, pharmacists and other community services which are a first port of call for people). That is why a primary care strategy is being developed, mapping out the future shape of these services. The new national policy of a named GP for every person aged over 75 will also make it easier for frail older people to access the services they need. However, there isn’t an endless supply of additional doctors, so our strategy includes plans to diversify the primary care workforce and where appropriate, patients will be seen by other health professionals. We hope that this approach will allow GPs to focus on the most complex and serious cases, while improving access to health services for the rest of the local population.

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What are the criteria for the decisions being made? 

The following criteria inform all Better Care Together decision making:

QUALITY: Maintaining or improving safety, outcomes and patient experience

ACCESS: Issues affecting a person's ability to reach the right service (e.g. transport, waiting times)

VALUE FOR MONEY: Delivering real savings (without compromising quality of care)

ACHIEVABILITY: Assessing whether a proposal can be done within the designated

SCALEABILITY: Proposals which are workable across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

LEVEL: Impact according to the part of the service involved (e.g. whole system change or a single department or care pathway)

ROI TIMELINE: How long it takes for any investment to lead to savings

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What happens next?

Better Care Together has already delivered many improvements to health and care services in LLR. In July, we will publish a document setting out the Next Steps for Better Care Together.

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