The new Thurrock First service launched in early November and to find out more about it, we spoke to Mandy Moore (Integrated Service Manager, Thurrock Council) to hear why it was set up and how Thurrock residents can engage with the service.
What is Thurrock First?
It is an integrated multi-disciplinary service funded by Thurrock Council, NELFT and Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT). Thurrock First is the first point of contact for information, advice and access to services for health and social care. Operational hours are 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Core hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday with reduced support available at other times and bank holidays.
The service will have access to a triage function that consists of a social worker, clinical nurse and community psychiatric nurse - who will provide support as needed (during core hours), but also provide regular multi-disciplinary meetings for cases to be referred into for review. This is with a view to identifying individuals who need support earlier (to prevent crisis/admission) and ensure multi-organisational input is co-ordinated, efficient and effective.
Why was it set up?
It was established to improve customer service, after feedback from the public and professionals, including GPs, that it was hard to access care and support. It aims to provide a seamless experience, providing one central number for Thurrock residents (and family/friends of Thurrock residents) to contact for support relating to health and social care support needs. Thurrock First, through access to relevant data systems, is able to identify if a person is known to any services currently and this is already ensuring improved communication and coordination for people who need support. The team will also have access to rich community information to help signpost individuals, so building on solutions not services.
Who will benefit from the service?
Adults who live in Thurrock, and family/friends of adults living in Thurrock, who require information, advice and support relating to social care, community health and mental health needs.
Professionals needing to refer into health and social care support services should also feel the benefits of being able to contact one number and either receive the support they need or a clear redirection to the appropriate service.
How do users access Thurrock First?
People can access Thurrock First using any of the following contact methods:
Telephone: 01375 511000
Facsimile: 0300 300 1634
Where is it based?
The Thurrock First service is based in Jubilee Ward at Thurrock Hospital, Long Lane, Grays. We also have a room at the John Tallack Centre at Thurrock Hospital, which we use as an overflow and for weekend working.
How has the service been received by users?
The service appears to have been received well by users; we have already seen an increase in number of calls being received. We ensured previous contacts for teams subsumed into Thurrock First were redirected (either automatically or by prompt for ‘Thurrock’) to ensure consistency for our regular callers.
We are already starting to realise the benefits of joint working and have received positive feedback from some callers that we have been able to support with needs relating to both health and social care within the same call. We have also identified some safeguarding concerns that may not have triggered an investigation through our old processes and we have also been able to expedite safeguarding investigations through shared access to information. In one case, a daughter called to refer her mother to one of the Parkinson’s nurses and during the conversation the Thurrock First Advisor was able to identify that the mother likely met the criteria for social care support, which was subsequently triggered. Any carer involvement would also be considered within the assessment process, with a joint or standalone assessment of the carer’s needs being offered and completed, if accepted.
Are there any plans for the future to expand the service?
While our focus at the moment is ensuring all staff are trained across all specialisms, improving our grasp of community assets to assist with effective signposting and reviewing/developing our processes as a combined service to ensure these are efficient – we very much hope to look to expand the service, particularly within our triage function to include other specialists, such as housing, for example.
We would like to thank Mandy for taking the time to tell us more about the new service. For more details about Thurrock First, visit: www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-thurrock-first