£1million to support new programme supporting older people

Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership. INBT 16-106JC
Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership. INBT 16-106JC

Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) has been awarded £1million worth of funding for a new programme of community-based care and support for older people.

The award is part of the Dunhill Medical Trust’s £4million Older People’s Care Improvement Initiative, initiated in 2013 in response public provision failings in the care of the frailest people in our society.

It will support research on improving safety, effectiveness and satisfaction in the care of older people to create a radical change in public sector provision.

The IMPACT (Involving Many to Prescribe Alternative Care Together) Programme will deliver a wide range of activities, services and support programmes to a minimum of 1,100 people aged 70 years and over in Mid and East Antrim, through up to 13,200 funded “alternative care prescriptions”.

Through the mechanism of Community Partnership Agreements, the services of GP practices, community pharmacists and staff from a range of community-based organisations and public care services will be co-ordinated by local health and well-being hubs.

If successful, the partnership hopes to see the project replicated in other local authority areas.

Deirdre McCloskey, MEAAP project development officer said: “Over the last three years, our successful core Ageing Well and Reaching Out Programme has given us an insight into the various experiences of older people in terms of meeting their health needs.

“We are now delighted to be in a position to showcase the impact social needs, like access to transport, loneliness and literacy, can have on the health and wellbeing of older people in our community.”

Commenting on the funding, East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson said: “Due to a combination of factors, from the financial crisis to an ageing population, support for older people has been left lacking in Northern Ireland.

“This funding will hopefully go a long way to impacting more thoughtful health policy and public sector provision.”