A NEW social care system set to launch in St Helens later this year has reached a key milestone.

St Helens Cares aims to create a sustainable health, well-being and social care system, and is expected to save the council £80 million by 2020.

The work in developing St Helens Cares, the first iteration of which is due to launch in October, has been delivered in three key phases.

Phase 1 of the programme focused on understanding the scale of the challenge being faced by the system in the borough, and the factors underpinning some of the critical issues.

The second phase focused on the People’s Board’s plans for tackling these problems and involved engaging with health and social care partners, as well as those from housing, police, fire, voluntary sector and community safety.

The third and final phase is focused on the development of a single integrated commissioning provider, working closely with a single principle provider of health and social care services, in order to deliver more integrated care with better, more efficient and joined up services for patients.

This is referred to as the system lead approach.

Cllr Marlene Quinn, cabinet member for adult social care, presented a report to cabinet on Wednesday, seeking approval to explore options to develop a system lead approach for St Helens Cares.

Cllr Quinn said: “Since the creation of the People’s Board in July 2016, the council and its partners have shown and maintained a tremendous focus and commitment to move forward at pace on the development of St Helens Cares.

“Progress on the award-winning St Helens Cares has been consistent and constant with key milestones achieved.

“The development of a lead provider model is the next step in the evolution of St Helens Cares.

“A successful lead provider model will reduce the fragmentation and duplication that currently occurs across the many different providers in the health and care system.”

Cllr Quinn said the proposed approach is in line with the previously agreed principles of working collaboratively to achieve agreed outcomes for the community of St Helens.

She added that it is based on co-operation and a willingness for partners to “work across organisational boundaries”.

“A system lead agreement will be established to provide a governance framework for collaborative decision making,” the West Park councillor said.

“It is expected that St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will a have a key role as the lead provider organisation responsible for delivering St Helens Cares outcomes.

“Services that may fall under the remit of the service lead arrangement are those where there is significant crossover across a number of providers.”

Cllr Quinn said services that may be included are nursing and intermediate care services as well as St Helens Contact Cares, the front door of St Helens Cares.

She said it is proposed at this stage that the existing contractual arrangement remain in place and reiterated that there are no proposed changes to staff, employment terms and conditions.

Cabinet agreed in principle to the development of a system lead approach for St Helens Cares.