The Integrated Family Health Service (IFHS) is facilitating Canterbury's health and social services to better work together for improved patient outcomes.
The IFHS's goal is to facilitate integration and collaboration between services so that they are better coordinated to conveniently, efficiently and sustainably meet the needs of individual and families. This involves working with local groups of consumers, practices, pharmacies, community providers and hospital services to find new ways of working that benefits the patients they serve. It also involves supporting professionals across all levels of the health system - including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, receptionists and assistants - to reduce unnecessary work freeing up time to do what they are trained to do. Freeing up GP capacity, enhancing the role of the Practice Nurse and Community Pharmacist are key objectives of this programme that can deliver improved access for urgent or acute patients.
To achieve this, the IFHS supports groups to establish relationships with other health and social services, develop new ways of working and implement them. The IFHS focuses on building relationships that enable collaboration, not necessarily erecting buildings to assemble various services (although occasionally that is considered appropriate). Participation is voluntary and a tailored approach draws on the expertise of the participants to lead their own course through the IFHS process.
IFHS is governed by the IFHS Governance Group, which was formed in August 2011 and provides strategic oversight, direction and support to the IFHS and Collaborative Care.