A new way of working to improve health and social care has been introduced in Dorset.

Dorset County Council has been working with NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to look at how it provides care and support to older people, adults with physical disabilities and those with mental health conditions.

The Dorset Care Framework (DCF) is a five-year joint contract which will provide a shared approach based on individual needs of clients. The new contracts will come into effect on Monday, December 4.

The new framework plans to provide consistent, reliable and timely support to clients based on their individual needs and requirements, rather than in blocks of time allocations.

It recognises the contribution of carers and introduces a new way of working between the county council, CCG and providers. It aims to build a stronger and fairer market across the county in which everyone will be better managed, well trained and well supported.

It applies to the six district and borough areas of Dorset and excludes Bournemouth and Poole. Initially, it will only affect older people (over 65 years old) receiving packages of home care paid for or supplemented by social services.

Cllr Jill Haynes, DCC cabinet member for health and care said: “Despite the challenges of increasing demand for social care services and reduced funding from central government, the county council is not looking to reduce the care that individuals receive.

"The council’s aim is instead to make sure that the care and support provided by community organisations, care agencies, residential homes, and carers is co-ordinated in a better way to enable people to maximise their independence.”

Sally Shead, director of quality with NHS Dorset CCG said: "The introduction of the Dorset Care Framework is a new way of working which will see closer links between health and social care in Dorset, helping deliver consistent services and developing a stronger market locally which will see providers better supported.”