Health and care integration ‘proving elusive’

Health and council social care chiefs have admitted that integating their structures willl take longer than planned and that they should focus on ‘sharing culture and values’ instead.

A joint statement from the NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) says that ‘integration should be thought about more in terms of cultures, behaviours and values rather than formal structural integration of organisations.’

NHS Confederation deputy policy Jo Webber said: ‘There is wide consensus that integrating care is a good for patients and offers more efficient care. But people have been talking about this for a long time. Making this happen on any kind of significant scale across the system has proven more elusive than garnering positive statement of principle.

ADASS president Peter Hay from Birmingham City Council said: ‘We need to create the right environments in which local leaders are empowered to take risks, stick to their guns and improve care for patients.’

‘The time for talking about integration is over. This second joint publication shows our commitment as associations to finding ways through the many barriers that can prevent the integrated experience of services that the public should expect.’

Included in the statement are a number of ‘top tips’ for leaders to support integrated working which includes making time to work with staff and identify the key barriers to change, developing multi-disciplinary teams and fully developing systems to engage with patients.