This integration white paper sets out a vision for an integrated NHS and adult social care sector which will better serve patients and staff.
Despite the best efforts of staff, the current system means that too often patients find themselves having to navigate complex and disjointed systems. Those with multiple conditions can be left feeling frustrated at having to repeatedly explain their needs to multiple people in different organisations, while others can end up facing delayed discharge because the NHS and local authorities are working to different priorities in a way that is not as joined up as it could be.better transparency and choice – if local authorities and the NHS share data and are more transparent about their performance, the local population will be able to see how their areas’ health and care services are performing and make decisions about their own care.
The Government's white paper 'Joining up care for people, places and populations: The government's proposals for health and care integration' sets out some of the ways health and care systems will draw on the resources and skills across the NHS and local government to better meet the needs of communities, reduce waiting lists and help level up healthcare across the country.
- Better transparency and choice – if local authorities and the NHS share data and are more transparent about their performance, the local population will be able to see how their areas’ health and care services are performing and make decisions about their own care.
- More personalised care – linking GPs with wider forms of community support, such as social prescribing, could allow care to be more personalised which would help reduce the need for people to have more expensive, invasive medical treatment.
- Earlier intervention – integration will help people to access to the right services at the right time, including specialist services, which could mean earlier intervention that could prevent diseases from progressing and reduce the need for invasive and expensive interventions late in the day.
- Clear communication – integration will mean patients having a single digital care record so they can book appointments, order prescriptions, and communicate with their care providers on one platform while those involved in delivering health and care services can access the patient’s latest information – not only will this save time, it will help ensure a patient does not have to repeat themselves so many times, and professionals will have the information they need to make care plans that work for the patient.
- Improved access to social care services through NHS data sharing – currently local authorities cannot access all NHS data to make decisions about access to social care services – an integrated system would allow the NHS to notify a local authority straight away if a person requires social care support.
- better treatment – managing diseases in the community through better join up between primary, community and hospital services means better treatment for patients
- Better NHS support to care homes – integration between hospitals and social care would mean more specialist support so care home residents could be treated before they get unwell and avoid having to go to hospital.
- Co-ordinated services – better integration across health and care will reduce the burden on people to have to coordinate between different hospital specialists, GPs, social care and local authority services themselves.
- More flexible services – aligning financial incentives and pooling budgets will mean that the NHS and local authorities can use their resources more flexibly to benefit patients.
- Better value for money – reducing duplication and waste will mean that NHS investment can be spent in ways that benefit patients and deliver savings for social care, ensuring value for the taxpayer.