Getting started – partnership, coproduction and defining the problem
In Blackburn with Darwen, we have been using the MEAM Approach since 2014/15. Our decision to become a MEAM Approach area was based on our awareness of a consistent increase in the numbers of people with multiple and complex needs. Many were living in temporary accommodation or HMOs and had been flagged up across the system by a range of partners. We have created a strong partnership with representation from public health, housing, community safety, CCG, safeguarding, probation / CRC, emergency services, the local hospital, the voluntary sector, and elected members. Coproduction is central to our MEAM work and people with lived experience attend the local VOICE forum to provide valuable insight and challenge.
Designing your intervention
We currently have a specifically commissioned service that has embedded a care coordinated and multidisciplinary approach to supporting people with multiple needs. Our service outreach workers have also played an important part in growing the awareness and recognised value of MEAM. There is an operational group and we currently have a steering group which oversees the strategic developments. The current service focuses on working with 25 clients at any one time and the operational group meets to discuss progress, problem-solve, recognise barriers and explore ways to implement change. Relationships have developed and have gone from strength to strength.
Sustainability and system change
We now recognise the need to embed the approach as our local place based health and social care system evolves. We have developed a better understanding of the challenges faced by the cohort as well as local evidence of the benefits of working in this way. We aim to continue to support each other, using limited resources more effectively, to achieve the best outcomes for people. We are reviewing the governance structures to ensure continued strategic ownership at an executive level and will share our learning with partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria. We have been successful in raising interest at the local Health and Wellbeing Board and the Community Safety Partnership and MEAM has been accepted as a priority for us going forward.