A NEW initiative is underway aimed at ending delays in providing home care for elderly people so they can get out of hospital when they are medically discharged instead of waiting weeks for a care package.

More than 200 Wirral Council social care assessment and planning staff are set to join Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust to develop "a fully integrated health and social care service."

At the same time the local authority has earmarked around £3m for improving residential care, home care and supported living.

The NHS trust currently provides community healthcare to patients in their own homes helping people remain as independent as possible and stay out of hospital.

But there can be delays while patients are left waiting in hospital for carers to become available.

It is expected that from June, council social care staff will join the trust providing "a seamless service" for patients.

Now, instead of having to make several telephone calls to many different departments, families will have just one number to phone and one person responsible for ensuring their health and social care needs are understood.

Val McGee, director of integration and partnerships at Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Government has set a very clear expectation for local authorities and the NHS to integrate these services.

"We are really looking forward to welcoming our social care assessment and planning colleagues to the trust providing a better experience for Wirral people.”

Councillor Christine Jones, Wirral Council cabinet member for adult social care, said:“Residents want integrated, seamless social care and health services.

"They want to tell their story once, they want one phone number to call and they want a properly coordinated response to meet their needs.

"This is what we must deliver.

"To get there, we are bringing together community nurses, community matrons, therapists and social workers to work as one integrated service supporting people in their local communities.

"Our aim is to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time to make sure our residents are able to be as independent as possible but have access to important health and care services as and when they need them.”

The proposals will be considered by the council’s cabinet next Monday and the community trust’s board this Wednesday.

A scandal was revealed in 2012 when it was disclosed an illegal system had been introduced whereby care packages for the elderly were delayed by up to four weeks.

Read our shocking report of the tragic consequences here.