NHS Confederation - Integration will be good for patients but requires social care reform fist

6 Jan 2012 12:58 PM Commenting on a recent report on integrating care from the King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust NHS Confederation deputy policy director Jo Webber said integration was the right way to go but requires social care funding reform first.

NHS Confederation deputy policy director Jo Webber said:

"The key to integrating services is to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal which is improved outcomes for patients.  Integrating care will improve services, particularly for people who are frail and those with long term conditions. But it will also involve making some really difficult decisions as hospital activity is reduced and moved into the community.

"While we agree with many of the report’s findings, its recommendations will only work if they are accompanied by fundamental reform of social care so it is put on a sustainable footing.  Coupled with this, the way health services for people with complex health needs are currently paid for will need to be fundamentally altered. These are big changes that will require significant political courage and leadership.

"Integration will take a long time to bed down and start improving the quality of care patients receive. Constantly tinkering with implementation must be avoided if at all possible. Integration will produce more sustainable models of care in the long term but many local initiatives could mean new services being run in tandem while old ones are shut which could be more expensive in the short term."

Notes to Editors

The NHS Confederation is the only body to bring together the full range of organisations that make up the modern NHS. We are an independent membership organisation that represents all types of providers and commissioners of NHS services in England. We also represent trusts and health care boards in Wales; and health and social service trusts and boards in Northern Ireland.

Contact Francesca Reville 020 7074 3312 or Niall Smith 020 7074 3304. For out of hours media enquiries, please call the Duty Press Officer on 07880 500726.