Integration in Staffordshire

Last week we saw the publication of an All Party Parliamentary Group report on “The State of Care in Counties” which calls for more integration between health and social care services.  The report came at the same time as plans to devolve £6bn pooled health and social care budgets in Greater Manchester were announced.

Getting care and health services to work together is something we have already been leading the way on here in Staffordshire with the creation of the country’s largest integrated health and social care trust back in 2012.  This work is essential if we are to successfully tackle the increasing demands and needs of a growing ageing population.  We do need to do more to reflect current pressures and priorities at a local level and will continue our partnership approach which brings together integration, prevention and early intervention.

I’m sure people will join me in congratulating Trentham Gardens who have just been voted BBC Countryfile Garden of the Year.

This is great news for Staffordshire and even more proof that our county is without doubt a great place to visit, live, work and play.

The Trentham Estate includes the famous Italian Gardens, a beautiful walk around the mile long lake, a children’s adventure play area and maze, and the Monkey Forest, home to 140 endangered Barbary macaques.

Beating off such tough competition from well-established gardens including Kew Gardens in Surrey is a real result for Staffordshire.  And, with Trentham Gardens and this latest accolade I’m sure we can look forward to welcoming even more visitors to our great county.

This month we launched our Big Commute campaign that is promoting alternative ways of travelling in and around Stafford.  During the campaign we’ll be offering people bus taster tickets, putting on cycling workshops, promoting the car share scheme and lots of other advice and competitions.  We are also giving people who try a different mode of travel for a week, the chance to win an ipad.  You can find out more about it at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/bigcomute

Whether it’s walking, cycling or taking the bus there are huge benefits in terms of keeping fit and healthy and for the town itself, as we reduce congestion on the roads.  Over the years we’ve completed a number of new cycleways in the town and made improvements to others. The NCN 55 linking Stafford with Newport is the latest one, giving people a 14-mile stretch to enjoy.  Later this month we will also finish off work on a modern £1.6m Cycleway bridge which will give walkers and cyclists a link over marshland between Baswich and Tixall Road.  This project has been all about connecting people in the south east of the town to our growing employment sites at Beaconside and Redhill.

Only last month we launched Real time Passenger Information on the buses, which is giving people live arrival times for their services.  This, along with new and modern buses, many with free wi-fi, means it’s a good time to hop on board.  There are plenty of travel options for people in Stafford and we want to encourage people to try them out.

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