Cumbrian health chiefs say they are determined to build a well-staffed NHS that is more integrated and focused on illness prevention.

Those were some of the key message from local health service bosses as they welcomed the newly published national 10-year Long-Term Plan for the NHS, which the government estimates could save up to 500,000 lives by focusing on prevention. Another big theme is an intention to give a bigger share of funding to GPs, community care, and mental health.

Plans are also afoot for closer working with social care providers.

Cumbria has already taken huge steps towards integrating NHS services which have traditionally separate - services such as acute hospital services, and community and mental health services, say bosses.

Stephen Eames is chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and Cumbria partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), as well as leader of North Cumbria Health and Care System.

“The long-term plan gives a clear commitment to integrating health services so the patient is at the heart of our NHS," he said.

"This is something we have been working towards for some time across north Cumbria and I am delighted that we are at the leading edge of our future NHS.

The North Cumbria Health and Care System was named as one of 14 exemplar areas in May 2018, which aim to develop an integrated care system.

Mr Eames said: "Every area across England will now be asked to work towards this model of integrating health services across primary care, the community and hospital services.

"In north Cumbria we have developed 8 Integrated Care Communities (ICCs) where health and social care professionals, GPs, the third and voluntary sector and the community are increasingly working as one team to support the health and wellbeing of local people.

"This has included creating 90 new jobs and developing coordination hubs, rapid response service, frailty co-ordinators, and the lead practitioner of the day able to make clinical decisions on next steps in patient care without delay. There is clear evidence that integration is having an impact already.

"We have probably seen the most progress in Alston where enhanced community services have been up and running for some time. They are now undertaking three times more visits in the community.

"This means more patients are avoiding hospital stays and receiving the appropriate care at home. Across north Cumbria, additional staff working in the community have enabled us to carry out over 90,000 visits since July 2018 which is helping people stay at home as set out in the case studies below."

Ramona Duguid, the Trust's Director of Integration, said she and her colleagues were determined to work more closely with public health officials and third sector community groups - such as Age UK and other charities - to help make illness prevention more of a reality than ever before. The other two priorities, she said, are integrating care communities to break down walls which have in the past prevented tackling health issues and addressing the "workforce challenge" by making Cumbria a great place to work.

Figures show progress in filling key NHS vacancies locally.

In the last three years, the number of doctor vacancies at the North Cumbria Acute Hospitals University Trust - which runs the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital - has fallen from 33 per cent to 14 per cent.

One in ten of the trust's nursing vacancies remain unfilled - an improvement on previous years; while at the Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust 16.5 of medical vacancies are unfilled, and 6.6per cent of the nursing vacancies are not filled.

Fore more information about the NHS long-term plan, go to and the full plan is available at