Early indications show that the Community Integrated Teams are beginning to impact on non-elective admissions in Sunderland, meaning lower hospital admissions and improved care for patients.

Community Integrated Teams (CITs) were introduced in 2015 with five teams put in place, one in each of the localities across the City. The aim of the CITs is to work with the most vulnerable in the city, those in poor health and with complex needs. This will be done by bringing together health professionals from key teams across multiple sectors, including district nurses, community matrons, general practitioners, practice nurses, social care professionals, Age UK Sunderland and Living Well Link Workers. Patients in need of additional support are identified at practice level. Professionals attend multi-disciplinary team meetings where the best course of action for patients is discussed, and a plan developed to ensure an efficient and person-centred approach for patients.

The most recent available statistics show that, in the period prior to October 2015 – the period before Community Integrated Teams – hospital admissions in Sunderland increased by 8.4%. These figures are in line with the regional and national trend. However, since October last year, admissions in Sunderland have increased by only 1.8%; whereas hospital admissions elsewhere in the country have continued to increase at between 8% and 10%.

This equates to 140 fewer admissions per month, or approximately 1,700 per year.

This is a fantastic start for the Community Integrated Teams, demonstrating that a joined-up approach to primary care, where professionals from multiple sectors work towards a common goal, can create positive outcomes for patients in Sunderland.