A stitch in time: the future is integration

SCIE Social Care Online
NHS Confederation
Publication date:
01 January 2012


This short briefing looks at integration and collaboration in health and social care and highlights the benefits that an inclusive approach brings to the delivery of care in both sectors. Key points from the study are: that developing integrated health and social care is critical to keep pace with today’s changing needs; integration and competition are not mutually exclusive and can be supportive; successful integration is dependent on good commissioning and strong contracts that result from a clear and open tendering process; the more pluralist systems of Western Europe provide helpful examples of how to develop more effective integration than is currently seen have in the UK; robust integration drives up the quality of care, encourages innovation and development, benefits the individual organisations and delivers cost savings to the public purse. Four examples of good practice are discussed. A director of Barchester Healthcare describes a new way of joint working with NHS organisations. The chief operating officer at Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust outlines the key benefits of their integrated health and social care model. The general manager of Ribera Salud Grupo in Valencia describes a pioneering public-private partnership; and the acting director of elderly services in the Eksote district of Finland outlines a health and social care integration model that ensures patients and clients receive high-quality joined-up care.