Clusters - working together for a healthier you

A new garden in the lower Swansea Valley is helping to grow
community spirit

A new garden in the lower Swansea Valley is helping to grow community spirit and nurture people’s wellbeing. Chief gardener Neil Barry with his volunteers referred through the Cwmtawe Cluster.

 

There is nothing splendid about working in isolation when it comes to your health and wellbeing.

Fortunately, there’s been a shift in direction within the Swansea Bay area in how people access healthcare and advice, with a growing number of services now available in community settings.

Teamwork is at the heart of this transformation, with your GP practice working closely with neighbouring surgeries, community nurses, dentists, opticians, pharmacists, volunteers, local authorities and others. These are known as “clusters” and they aim to provide care that is better co-ordinated, and which promotes the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Clusters bring together all local services involved in health and care across a geographical area, typically serving a population between 25,000 and 100,000.  In Swansea Bay (Swansea and Neath Port Talbot) there are eight clusters.

Clusters work together to:

  • Prevent ill health, enabling people to keep themselves well and independent for as long as possible.
  • Develop the range and quality of services that are provided in the community.
  • Ensure services provided by a wide range of health and social care professionals in the community are better co-ordinated to local needs.
  • Improve communication and information sharing between different health, social care and voluntary sector professionals.
  • Help closer working between community based and hospital services, ensuring that patients receive a smooth and safe transition from hospital services to community based services and vice versa

Working in clusters allows economies of scale and a more cost-effective method of hiring additional health care professionals. This means your GP practice can now offer extra services as part of a group, which they couldn’t have as individual surgeries.

You may have noticed that work has already started recruiting healthcare professionals like pharmacists, physiotherapists, social workers, paramedics, physicians’ associates, occupational therapists, mental health counsellors, dieticians, third sector workers and other local authority staff.

These extra staff can often provide you with appropriate alternatives to GPs, which can result in you having shorter waits to be seen. It also frees up GPs to see more of their sicker patients.

Which cluster do you belong in? Here are the details for the eight clusters in Swansea Bay:

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