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Don’t get distracted by creating new roles to deliver integrated care, says report

Don’t get distracted by creating new roles to deliver integrated care, says report

A King’s Fund report has found that there is little evidence to support the creation of new roles to deliver integrated care
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A King’s Fund report has found that there is little evidence to support the creation of new roles to deliver integrated care.

Instead the report, Supporting integration through new roles and working across boundaries, suggests that working with the existing workforce to create more flexible and multi-skilled teams to work across boundaries is more effective.

The report found there has been limited assessment of the effectiveness of individual roles as most evaluations have focused on the wider process of integration. 

Furthermore, the report says there is limited evidence of whether new roles would reduce costs.

The report also highlights issues around how new roles often fail to address the cultural gaps between professional and organisational identities, like between health and social care.

Failure to bridge this gap could result in the task of integrated care falling to a few individuals, trading engaged staff for wide integration, which the report says is integral to successful integration.

Instead, the report has found that many of the skills needed to implement integration already exist in the workforce.

Helen Gilburt, the report’s lead author, said: “Too often the assumption might be that to deliver integrated care you need to create a new role.

“Our analysis found new roles are not always the most effective way of delivering integrated care – and can in fact lead to solutions which are unsustainable.

“While the aim of creating a more flexible and multi-skilled workforce to provide more holistic care is paramount, rather than create a new role, it is much more compelling to utilise the existing skills of the workforce more effectively and engage staff in identifying and implementing workforce solutions themselves.”

The report was commissioned by the Local Government Authority and NHS Employers.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, the Local Government Association’s portfolio holder for community wellbeing, said: “As health and care integration gathers pace, it is vital that we focus on the most effective ways of working, so that we are best placed to meet the needs of patients and the most vulnerable in society.”

She added: “We will use the report to work with partners to provide further advice and support as local areas develop their approaches to integration.

“With resources continuing to be under strain, it is crucial that we make the right decisions for investment in the workforce. The focus on skills, team-building and engagement in this report will help drive that forward.”

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