Last week [February 25], All Together Better hosted a special event to celebrate the hard work over the past few months to test views about the new care model in the city.

Age UK Sunderland organised the special event, attended by more than 100 people, to unveil the findings of a programme of Patient, Public and Carers Engagement (PPCE) events, designed to shape new service, All Together Better.

The event, at the Stadium of Light, was organised to thank members of the public, patients, carers and active community groups who have given up their time to share feedback about the new service.  The event saw professionals from the Clinical Commissioning Group speak about longer term plans for All Together Better – also known as a Vanguard programme – which brings together health, social care and voluntary sector teams to wrap care and support around those who need it most in Sunderland.

Cyril Pace (94) with AUKS Hospital Discharge Team worker June Hourigan

Cyril Pace (94) with AUKS Hospital Discharge Team worker June Hourigan

The event also offered the chance for attendees to ask the partners of All Together Better questions and have their concerns heard, covering everything from equality of care to the financial viability for the scheme.

Steve Williamson, head of the provider board at All Together Better, said that the programme had been a success to date, and that bringing together people who have helped to shape the service provided a good chance to share more information about how their contribution is positively affecting the work delivered in Sunderland for the city’s most unwell people.

He said: “The input of the community is absolutely critical when it comes to shaping services – after all, they are the people who are engaging with All Together Better, either directly or as a family member of those who are being cared for by the new teams of health and social care professionals that are working in unison.

“This event is a great chance to share with those who have helped to shape the service over the last couple of months, how their valuable feedback is helping us to enhance All Together Better.  This programme is about offering the best care possible to people in the city who need it most, and we are taking on board everything we learn along the way.”

More than 2,000 people in total have taken part and been informed at Age UK Sunderland-facilitated PPCE events, which draw on people’s personal experiences to ensure All Together Better continues to improve.  The initiative, established thanks to funding from NHS England, has seen teams of professionals – once working separately – come together to help some of Sunderland’s most poorly people to live as independently as possible, and stay out of hospital.

ATB PPE eventAll insight gained at the 75 PPCE events feeds into an ongoing plan for All Together Better, which it is envisaged will be rolled out nationally if it is proven to use public money more effectively.

Tracy Collins, deputy director of Age UK Sunderland, which has been facilitating the PPCE events for All Together Better in Sunderland as well as organising the Celebration event, said: “The groups we have held have been extremely well attended.  There is a genuine interest in the programme, which really is transformative and something many health and social care professionals have been pushing to see for years, if not decades.

“We have gained some extremely useful feedback, and though views have been overwhelmingly positive, the purpose was always to really drill down to understand the real difference this will make to lives in the city and how it can be further enhanced to achieve more.  This celebration event is about saying thank you to those who have helped us come this far, as well as providing a good chance to gain more views on what the public thinks of the new care model.”

Here’s the video we shared at the event of some local residents sharing their experiences of how they learned about the new scheme: