HOSPITAL providers in Northumberland have expanded their remit to take on community health services.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was previously responsible for running community and general hospitals in the county.
But now it will also take on community and adult social care services.
Patients will continue to be treated by the same district nurses, health visitors and social workers, who will transfer to the trust.
It is hoped that the changes will improve communication between health workers, streamline processes, reduce duplication and improve the discharge of patients from hospital.
Trust Chief Executive Jim Mackey said: “This is an exciting time for our trust and our staff.
“It is inevitable that these changes will impact on our organisation and how we work. However, we are committed to ensuring we build positively on the already excellent services that are delivered across the community and in social care.
“Hospital-based care will no longer be our only focus. However, our priority will always be to continue to provide our patients with the best possible care — regardless of whether this is in hospital, in the community or at home.”
The trust has been working with a number of partners, including NHS North of Tyne, Northumberland Care Trust, Northumberland County Council, GPs and unions.