Dr Robert Varnam, who is jointly leading the NHS Future Forum’s work on integrated services, reports on how it is focusing on the practical issues of creating a more integrated experience for patients, particularly for three specific groups.
Well, things have been very busy since we launched Phase 2 and the Integration workstream.
We have an excellent team with a wide range of backgrounds and experience. I’m particularly pleased that there’s such depth of expertise in understanding and serving the needs of patients, carers and the wider public, and of delivering innovative solutions to complex problems.
At our first team meeting, we agreed to focus on practical issues of how policymakers, leaders and staff can collaborate to create a more integrated experience for patients. We’re particularly interested in how the needs of three groups can be better met by the health and social care system:
- the frail elderly with multiple long term conditions
- children with complex needs
- adults with long term mental health problems.
The government has now launched the process for engaging with the public and professionals to inform the development of next year’s social care White Paper. We’re pleased to be able to feed our learning into that process.
We have already begun holding listening events around the country, many hosted by organisations who are already making great strides towards delivering integrated care. At each event, we’re asking the same questions about how to achieve success in this area:
- What are the problems integration can solve?
- What are the examples of success and challenge we should be learning from?
- What factors contribute to success in improving integration?
- What factors block successful integration?
- Who needs to do what next to enable integration to be progressed in a pragmatic and achievable way?
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