NHS Confederation and ADASS join forces on integration

NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services issue joint statement and say time for talking about integration is over

The integration of health and social care services should be thought about more in terms of cultures, behaviours and values rather than formal structures, according to the NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

The two organisations said they had joined forces to issue the joint statement to set out how best to integrate services. Some “top tips” for leaders include making time to work directly with staff, identifying key barriers to change, developing multi-disciplinary teams and fully developing systems to engage with patients.

Commenting on the joint statement Jo Webber, deputy policy director at the NHS Confederation, 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.”

She added that the joint statement was an important part of the process to make integrated health and social care services the norm rather than the preserve of a group of determined pioneers who are “prepared to take risks and swim against the tide.”

“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,” she said.

The statement comes on the back of joint working between the NHS Confederation organisations and ADASS over the last 18 months.

Peter Hay, president of ADASS, said it constituted a significant step for both organisations.

“As we approach the formulation of the social care white paper and the response to Dilnot we are moving into a critical phase in the development of integrated work with our health service colleagues. The statement marks a significant step forward in both our organisations’ thinking on the subject, and I commend it to all our health and social care managers up and down the country.

He added: “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.”