The outsourcing company Capita will spend three months helping health and social care chiefs work out how to provide better care for frail people in Brighton and Hove.
The aims include cutting the number of drug addicts, mental health patients and homeless people turning up at accident and emergency (A&E) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
They also include cutting the number of readmissions of frail people and reducing the level of bed-blocking.
Details of the three-month £38,000 contract were given at the Brighton and Hove City Council Adult Care and Health Committee.
Geraldine Hoban, chief executive of Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It’s for a very short piece of work, working with the CCG and the council looking at quantifying our spend in the city on frailty.
“They’ve done a lot of work with other CCGs around the country so we’re piggybacking on a lot of expertise that they have.”
The contract is one element of the preparations by the council and CCG for making use of the Better Care Fund, formerly known as the Integrated Transformation Fund.
An extra £18 million is expected to be available over the next two financial years, starting from April, to provide more seven-day services.
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden asked whether this would cover out-of-hours services.
Geraldine Hoban said: “Out of hours care is a key part of this.
“It’s about delivering more consistent care 24/7. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all services will be available all day every day 24/7.
“When people have a crisis it should be very clear how people access care. At the moment that’s not how it works. There’s much less 24/7 working.”
Councillor Tony Janio expressed scepticism about getting more people out of hospital and ensuring they were cared for in the community.
And he asked: “How will this be communicated to people?
“How we can nudge people into taking the right decisions rather than have some monstrous bureaucracy forcing them?”
Councillor Mary Mears questioned whether the council could be confident about human resources teams working sufficiently well together across different organisations.
She also questioned whether IT systems would work well enough given problems with the council’s own computers.
Social care and health staff have been co-operating for some time but, councillors were told, they would have to accelerate the scale and pace.
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