The White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS proposes giving budgetary control and commissioning responsibilities to groups of GPs. This study looks at health economies in five areas of the UK that have been seeking to develop more integrated forms of care, and explores the ways in which NHS policy helps or hinders this.
The White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, provides an opportunity to develop integrated care systems within the NHS. International experience demonstrates that integrating healthcare services can deliver more efficient, patient-focused care.
However, although a number of organisations are pioneering integrated care, there are policy barriers to be overcome if these systems are to be adopted more widely. This briefing uses five case studies of health economies in the English NHS and examines how local clinicians and managers are working together to develop more coordinated services.
Many organisations are pioneering integrated care, but there are policy barriers to be overcome if these systems are to be adopted more widely
The authors conclude that the reforms outlined in the NHS White Paper, such as handing groups of GPs commissioning responsibilities, accompanied by real budgets, have the potential to deliver more seamless care for patients. However, the experiences of the areas studied – Torbay, Nottingham, Redbridge, Trafford and Cumbria – indicate that policy in areas such as GP commissioning, local leadership, competition, incentives and regulation needs to be developed to better support moves towards integration. The authors also stress the need to involve both clinicians and members of the public in service redesign.
Removing the policy barriers to integrated care in England will be of interest to health and social care policy-makers and senior managers, clinicians, senior social care practitioners and others with an interest in NHS and social care reform.
This briefing brings together thinking from five seminars that sought to examine the development of integrated services within a policy context that was encouraging competition and choice, and explores the ways in which these apparent tensions can be handled and resolved by practitioners and policy-makers.
Find out more about this series of events, and download the write-ups from each seminar, by following the 'Related pages' links in the right-hand column of this page.