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Social and health care fully integrated

Social and health care fully integrated

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For the first time health and social care will be integrated, with a government pledge that this will be completed by 2018. 

Described as an ‘end to people passed around the health and social care system’ the plans unveiled by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb. 

According to the government, people often get disjointed care and support, not designed to suit their needs. 

In a recent study, 32% of bereaved people said hospitals did not work well with GPs and other services.

Government and key players in the health and care field have published plans that will see them working together to put people first.

The plans, which will be delivered by national leaders and local areas working closely together, include:

  • An ambition to make joined-up and coordinated health and care the norm by 2018 – with projects in every part of the country by 2015
  • The first ever agreed definition of what people say good integrated care and support looks and feels like - this work by National Voices gives areas a clear vision to work towards
  • New measures of people’s experience of joined up care and support by the end of this year so we can start to see whether people are feeling the benefits of the change.

The 'best care'

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: "People don't want health care or social care, they just want the best care. This is a vital step in creating a truly joined up system that puts people first.

"Unless we change the way we work, the NHS and care system is heading for a crisis.

"This national commitment to working together is an important moment in ensuring we have a system which is fit for the future."

The announcement sees the publication of a system-wide “Shared Commitment”, which demonstrates how the national leaders of the health and care system have come together to help local areas make integration happen.

It includes ten commitments which every organisation has signed up to deliver, including: 

  • Outlining how national resources will support local work
  • Promises to ensure tools are available to help
  • Details of how information will be used to enable integration
  • Plans to accelerate learning across the system

The document lays out how local areas should use existing structures like Health and Wellbeing Boards to bring together local authorities, the NHS, social care providers, education, housing services, public health and others to bring about better integration of local services.

Clinical commissioning groups set aside 2% of their annual funding for non-recurrent expenditure and the government has encouraged them to consider using this to support innovative approaches to integrated care and support.

Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “As the providers of social care and now public health, councils have a key role to play in integrating services to both improve the quality of care and support that people receive and help find new ways of addressing the long-standing concerns around the future funding of care services.

“In order to achieve this we absolutely need to put real people of all ages, from children and young people to those with long term and multiple conditions, at the heart of everything we do. It is their voices and experiences that can help us create the person-centred services urgently needed to revolutionise care in this country.

“Health and Wellbeing Boards, as the core local decision makers across health and care, are crucial to this process and can provide a platform to ensure that public money is used effectively across the NHS and local government to tackle the wider health needs of our communities.”

New measures of success

To track whether coordinated care and support meets the needs of people, new ways of measuring people’s experiences will be developed by the end of the year.

A Department  of Health spokesperson said: "As we roll these out across the country, we will work with areas to test whether people are getting the benefits that coordinated health and care services should deliver."

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