Integration a "vital goal"

The National Audit Office has published a report criticising the lack of progress towards integrated health and care services. The authors conclude that the government’s plan for integrated health and social care services across England by 2020 is at significant risk.

Commenting, Don Redding, Director or Policy at National Voices, the coalition of health and care charities, said:

Integration is still a vital goal – vital for the millions of people who need to use multiple services over time and who still face a fragmented, poorly functioning system that makes ill people and their carers do all the work of coordination.

Navigating the labyrinth of services is not easy when you are well; it is near impossible when you are ill, depressed, approaching the end of life, or all of the above.

Progress has been slow because many national and local leaders have either moved on or lost sight of the goal they all committed to in 2013: person centred coordinated care for all who need it. There have been too many overlaying initiatives, and a focus on the wrong measures – those that are important to the system rather than to people and their health and wellbeing.

Underfunding in health and social care is threatening to undermine collaboration and, as the National Audit Office notes, money is draining away to plug deficits rather than being used to transform care.

What is needed is less ‘performance checking’ and a renewed national drive to guarantee person centred coordinated care, based on the National Voices definition and with measures derived from it, for all who need it.

National Voices worked with the Department of Health and others to create a shared definition of ‘integration’, based on the Narrative for person-centred coordinated care. The complexity of the current system is made clear in National Voices’ Webs of care project,

For further information, please contact Andrew McCracken, Head of Communications, on either 020 3176 0737 or  andrew.mccracken@nationalvoices.org.uk.