nhs community nurse

Integration White Paper will unite the NHS and Social Care

The new Integration White Paper announced today will aim to link the NHS and social care and improve communication between the two.

The more collaborative approach will endeavour to provide better and more cohesive care to patients by ensuring the right care is given in the right place at the right time.

Patients who have multiple conditions will hugely benefit from the changes as it will reduce the need to repeat their needs to multiple people across different organisations.

Integration will help to eliminate the ‘complex and disjointed systems’ currently in place and will offer a more straight forward efficient experience.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Better integration is vital to stop people falling into the gaps between health and social care.

“Ensuring our health and care systems work in unison will mean we can support hardworking staff, provide better care to patients and deliver value for the taxpayer.

“Our Integration White Paper is part of our wider plans to reform and recover the health and social care system, ensuring everyone gets the treatment and care they need, when and where they need it”.

Included in the White Paper were ways in which an integrated approach will benefit health and social care:

  • Better transparency and choice: patients will be able to form a clear choice on their care due to local authorities and the NHS collating their data for patients to see their performance.
  • More personalised care: linking GPs with wider forms of community support will help to personalise care and reduce the need for more complex, invasive treatment.
  • Earlier intervention: integration will help people to access to the right services at the right time
  • 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.
  • Improved access to social care services through NHS data sharing: An integrated system would allow the NHS to notify a local authority straight away if a person requires social care support.
  • Better NHS support to care homes: integration between hospitals and social care would mean more specialist support to avoid hospital admissions.
  • Coordinated services: better integration across health and care will reduce the burden on people to have to coordinate across different organisations.
  • More flexible services: aligning financial incentives and pooling budgets will allow the NHS and local authorities to use their resources more flexibly to benefit patients.
  • Better value for money: reducing duplication means that NHS investment can be spent in ways that benefit patients and deliver savings for social care, ensuring value for the taxpayer.

Michael Gove, Levelling Up Secretary, said: “The past two years have highlighted the persistent health disparities in this country. As we recover and level up, it is right that we draw on our experience of the pandemic to bridge the gaps that are holding us back - between health and social care, between health outcomes in different places and within society.

“This is what our important Integration White Paper aims to achieve, by bringing together the NHS and local government to jointly deliver for local communities, and why I am so happy to champion its ambition”.

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