Workforce and Training

01.07.16

Unnecessary to create new roles to deliver integrated care, says King’s Fund

Creating new roles to deliver integrated cares is an unnecessary step, the King’s Fund has said in a new report.

The think-tank’s report argues that there is a lack of evidence for the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of some new roles.

It added that key problems with the operation of roles such as care co-ordinators and case managers include a culture of protecting professional and organisational identities, overestimating the capacity of individual roles to deliver integrated care, difficulties in making the roles sustainable and lack of accountability for staff.

Helen Gilburt, the report’s lead author and a Fellow at the King’s Fund, said: “While the aim of creating a more flexible and multi-skilled workforce to provide more holistic care is paramount, rather than create a new role, it is much more compelling to utilise the existing skills of the workforce more effectively and engage staff in identifying and implementing workforce solutions themselves.”

The report recommends utilising the existing workforce better to deliver integrated care, by identifying what skills the workforce has and how they can be shared, as well as what skills are needed in the local area, and breaking down boundaries, and increasing liaisons between professionals and organisations in different sectors.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, welcomed the report, saying “it is vital that we understand and rapidly apply the lessons identified by this report”.

The King’s Fund report follows another report from the Nuffield Trust which said that health staff shortages should be solved by restructuring the existing workforce instead of recruiting new staff.

A recent joint report from the NHS Confederation, Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and NHS Clinical Commissioners warned that plans to integrate health and social care are suffering from funding shortfalls.

The NHS has recently created the new nursing associate role, which Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt of Health Education England said should be used to deliver integrated care.

However, bodies including the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives have warned that proposals to abolish bursaries for student nurses could discourage new recruits from joining the profession.

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